The transportation sector used about 27.8 quadrillion Btu (quads) of energy in 2016 with 76% of that used by vehicles on the nation’s roads, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE). Light vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, pickups, vans and sport utility vehicles, used the most energy, accounting for 55% of the total.
Medium and heavy trucks and buses accounted for 21% of the transportation sector’s energy use.
The nonhighway sectors—air, water, pipeline, and rail—used 4.6 quads (16%) while the off-highway sector energy use was 2.1 quads (8%).
Estimates indicate that 19% to 86% of the off-highway sector energy use can be attributed to fluid power, or mobile hydraulics on equipment such as excavators, loaders, backhoes, lifts, tractors and harvesters. Energy used for fluid power in off-highway transportation is being studied for opportunities to improve efficiencies.