|The transport sector is the largest and fastest-growing consumer of final energy in Europe. Click to enlarge. Source: EEA|
Final energy consumption in the EU-25 countries increased by 12.6% between 1990 and 2004, according to the European Environment Agency. Between 2003 and 2004, total final energy consumption grew by 1.1%. The fastest growing sector is transport, followed by households and services.
Final energy consumption in the transport sector grew 28.6% in the EU-25 between 1990 and 2004. Improvements in fuel efficiency were offset by increases in passenger and freight transport demand.
Higher transport demand has resulted from increased ownership of private cars, particularly in the new EU Member States, growing settlement and urban sprawl with longer distances and changes in lifestyle. Rapid increases in passenger aviation have been apparent, in part due to the growth of low-cost airlines, which have made this mode of transport more accessible to a larger section of the population. By 2004, transport became the largest consumer of final energy in the EU.
Final energy consumption in industry fell on average during the 1990-2004 period (-4.1%) but increased by 1.4% per year in the last two years, 2002 and 2004.
Household final energy consumption increased by 17.5% as rising personal incomes have permitted higher standards of living, with increases in comfort levels and the ownership of domestic appliances. Space heating and cooling is the most significant component of household energy demand, and can vary substantially from year to year depending on climatic variations. However, it is the demand for electricity from appliances that has increased most rapidly in percentage terms in recent years.
Services final energy consumption (including agriculture and other sectors) grew by 11.9%. This was due to the continued increase in the demand for electrical appliances, in particular information and communication technology (such as computers and photocopiers), and also for other energy-intensive technologies such as air-conditioning.