Transportation-Related Final Demand

Transportation-Related Final Demand

Total transportation-related final demand rose by 42 percent between 1992 and 2002 (in 2000 chained dollars1) from $759.3 billion to $1,076.9 billion (figure 13-2). However, transportation-related final demand as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showed little change throughout the period. This implies that transportation-related final demand grew at about the same rate as GDP. In 2002, the share of transportation-related final demand in GDP was 11 percent, compared with 10 percent in 1992.

Personal consumption of transportation—which includes household purchases of motor vehicles and parts, gasoline and oil, and transportation services—is the largest component of transportation-related final demand. It amounted to $867.0 billion in 2002 and accounted for 81 percent of the total transportation-related final demand (figure 13-3). Government purchases and private domestic investment commanded equal shares of transportation-related final demand in 1999 and 2000. However, during the balance of the 1992 to 2002 period, government purchases held a greater share. Government purchases reached $189.8 billion in 2002 (a 18 percent share), while private investment totaled $134.6 billion (a 13 percent share).

Net exports were a negative component of transportation-related final demand between 1992 and 2002. In other words, the United States imported more transportation-related goods and services than it exported. This gap has widened in recent years. In 1992, net exports had a –2.5 percent share in total transportation-related final demand. Net exports then remained at about –5 percent through 1998. Starting in 1999, net exports declined again, dropping to –11 percent by 2002. Deficits in the trade of automobiles and other vehicles and parts have been the primary component of the negative net exports of transportation-related goods and services.

Transportation-related final demand is the total value of transportation-related goods and services purchased by consumers and government and by business as part of their investments.2 Transportation-related final demand is part of GDP, and its share in GDP provides a direct measure of the importance of transportation in the economy from the demand side. The goods and services included in transportation-related final demand are diverse and extensive, ranging from automobiles and parts, fuel, maintenance, auto insurance, and so on, for user-operated transportation to various transportation services provided by for-hire transportation establishments.


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on data from U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Account Tables, available at, as of February 2004.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

2 Also included are the net exports of these goods and services, because they represent spending by foreigners on transportation goods and services produced in the United States. Imports, however, are deducted because consumer, business, and government purchases include imported goods and services. Therefore, deducting imports ensures that total transportation-related spending reflects spending on domestic transportation goods and services.