Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transport

Transport was responsible for 20.3% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions in 2019


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  • Greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 0.3% in 2019.
  • Emissions from road transport, which make up 95% of transport emissions, have been relatively stable over the last 5 years (2014-2019) at an average of 11.6 Mt CO2eq.


Infographic Transport 2019
  • Increasing share of newer technology vehicles has meant that 2019 figures remained stable despite a significant increase in car numbers.
  • The number of passenger diesel cars increased by 7.1% in 2019 while the number of passenger petrol cars decreased by 1.9%.
  • Approximately 22% more biofuel use in 2019 vs 2018.
  • The impact of electric vehicles in reducing transport emissions is still very low given the low number in the vehicle fleet but they are projected to contribute substantially to emissions reductions towards the latter half of the 2020s.

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This section accounts for emissions from the combustion of fuel for all transport activity including Aviation, Road, Railway, Water-borne navigation and other transportation (which includes pipeline transportation). The provisional GHG inventory figures estimate transport emissions decreased by 0.3% in 2019 or 0.04 Mt CO2eq compared to 2018 emissions. In road transport in 2019, petrol use decreased by 5.8% while diesel use increased by 0.8% and biofuels use increased by 22%. Looking at the underlying drivers, the number of passenger diesel cars increased by 7.1% in 2019 while the number of passenger petrol cars decreased by 1.9%, commercial vehicle numbers increased by 3.2% and employment grew by 3.5% between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019.

Between 1990 and 2019, Transport shows the greatest overall increase at 136.8%, with road transport increasing by 142.4%. Emissions decreased by 0.6% in 2019, this can be attributed to an increase in the efficiency of he road transport fleet. Transport emissions have decreased by 16.2% below peak levels in 2007 primarily due to the economic downturn, improving vehicle standards due to the changes in vehicle registration tax, the increase in use of biofuels and significant decreases in fuel tourism in recent years. The increase up to 2007 can be attributed to general economic prosperity, increasing population with a high reliance on private car travel as well as rapidly increasing road freight transport.

Projections published in July 2020 show transport emissions decreasing by 11.6% over the period 2021-2030 to 11.2 Mt CO2eq under the With Existing Measures (WEM) scenario.

Emissions are projected to decrease by 38.6% over the period 2021-2030 to 7.6 Mt CO2eq under the With Additional Measures scenario (shown as the line in the graph below), which assumes 936,000 electric vehicles, including 840,000 passenger cars, will be on the road by 2030.

*The Projections for 2020 -2030 in this graph pre-date the methodological changes made to the 1990-2019 Inventory. Care should therefore be taken in comparing historic and future emissions levels.

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Transport Emissions and Projections (WEM) 1990-2030*

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