Transportation Sector Energy Use

Transportation Sector Energy Use

The transportation sector used 17 percent more energy in 2003 than it did in 1993, an average annual growth rate of 1.6 percent. Transportation’s share of the nation’s total energy consumption also grew between 1993 and 2003, from 26 percent to 27 percent (figure 15-1).

Still, transportation energy use has grown more slowly than Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a result, the amount of transportation energy used per dollar of GDP1 declined at the average annual rate of 1.9 percent between 1993 and 2003 (figure 15-2).

Over 97 percent of all transportation energy consumed in 2002 came from petroleum [1]. Total U.S. petroleum usage increased 15 percent between 1992 and 2002, with transportation responsible for 84 percent of that rise. In 2002, transportation consumed 67 percent of all petroleum, up from 64 percent in 1992 (figure 15-3). Because over half of U.S. petroleum is imported, the United States, and especially the transportation sector, may be vulnerable to supply disruptions with fuel price fluctuations having the potential to contribute to economic instability.


1. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, table 2.5, available at, as of February 2004.

1 GDP is in chained 2000 dollars.