Transport

Between 1990 and 2020, emissions from transport showed the greatest overall increase, at 100.1%, with road transport increasing 102.6%. Transport emissions have decreased by 29.9% below peak levels in 2007, primarily because of the economic downturn, improving vehicle fuel efficiency as a result of changes to the vehicle registration tax, the increase in use of biofuels and significant decreases in fuel tourism in recent years. However, more recently, increases in transport emissions have been recorded for 5 out of the last 8 years (2013-2020) as the economy has grown and transport movements have increased. 2020 was an exceptional year with a decrease of 15.7% in emissions, due to the impact of COVID restrictions on passenger car and public transport journeys.

In 2020 the transport sector was responsible for 17.9% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions 

 

Highlights

Current trends

resize
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreased by 15.7% in 2020
  • Emissions from road transport, which make up 94% of transport emissions, were relatively stable for the period 2015-2019, at an average 11.6 Mt CO2eq but reduced to 9.7 Mt CO2eq in 2020.

Cause

  • Reduced emissions due to the impact of COVID restrictions on passenger car and public transport journeys.
  • Passenger cars were responsible for 59% of road transport emissions.

Outlook

  • 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

Transport sector

This sector accounts for emissions from the combustion of fuel for all transport activity including aviation, road, railway, water-borne navigation and other transportation (which includes gas pipeline transportation). The provisional GHG inventory figures estimated transport emissions decreased by 15.7% in 2020 or 1.9 Mt CO₂eq compared to 2019 emissions. In road transport in 2020, total fuel use in road transport decreased by 16.3%, petrol use decreased by 25.9% while diesel use decreased by 14.4% and biofuels use also decreased. The main reason for decreases were the limits on passenger car and public transport journeys due to COVID restrictions.

Between 1990 and 2020, the transport sector showed the greatest overall increase at 100.1%, with road transport increasing by 102.6%. Emissions decreased by 16.6% in 2020, this can be attributed to COVID restrictions as well as an increase in the efficiency of the road transport fleet. Transport emissions decreases until 2020 were 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.

Under the With Existing Measures scenario, transport emissions are projected to increase by 5.7% over the period 2021-2030 to 11.6 Mt CO2 eq

Emissions are projected to decrease by 17.0% over the period 2021 to 2030 to 9.1 Mt CO2 eq  under the With Additional Measures scenario (shown as the line in the graph below), which assumes 935,000 electric vehicles will be on the road by 2030.

Back to Greenhouse Gas Home