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The transport sector is а major growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil-fuel combustion from vehicles and transport equipment accounted for about one-fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions yet back in 1990. Road transport accounts for the largest share of this, over 80%, followed by air transport at 13%. Automobiles are the transport sectorъs largest consumer of petroleum and its largest source of carbon dioxide emissions. The developed world has the highest per-capita ownership of private cars today; developing countries currently have а mere 10% of the worldъs cars, but are expected to account for most of the future growth in automobile use.

Transportationъs global fuel consumption rose by 50% over the recent decades, largely because of higher incomes and steady or declining fuel costs. The advantages provided by the automobile, the convenience, freedom and flexibility, mean that growth in use is bound to continue. Without new measures to slow growth in emissions, fossil fuel use for transportation is estimated to increase by 35­130% by the year 2025 (IPCC Technical Paper 1996).

Transportation Sector in Ukraine

In Ukraine, the share of transportation energy consumption (about 10%) is still substantially lower than in western countries (about 30%). The increase in transport activity in Ukraine is inevitable and necessary to economic growth, and the best hope for curbing energy related problems is the conservation and improvement of the public transport system. Before 1990, Ukraine had а relatively energy efficient transportation system with high shares of public transportation. The importance of public transport has been recognized in the Government of Ukraine’s national strategies, but the means to pursue them are lacking, while more open markets and the push for individual mobility create constantly increasing demand for road based transportation.

The GHG emissions from the transportation sector are not easy to calculate. Estimates are based on the use of fuel by the sector and the emission factors. The most common energy resources used in the transportation sector in Ukraine are: petrol, motor fuel (including liquid), diesel, aviation spirit, natural gas, gas turbine fuel, heat and electric energy, coal, and mazut. According to the National Inventory of greenhouse gases of Ukraine, emissions for 1998 were:

GHG emissions in Transportation Sector in Ukraine, 1998 (Gg)

CO2 16,403.53
CH4 3.76
N2O 0.19
NOx 194.63


NMVOC 219,58

Source: National GHG Inventory of Ukraine

Traditionally, the major transport load in Ukraine was carried by public transportation, of which, the auto transport and railway used to carry up to 90% of all passengers and freight. Within the residential areas up to 50% of passenger travel is by bus, while underground, trams, and trolley buses share the rest. The majority of inter-city transportation is by railway.

Road transportation, private and public, is the most popular mode for passenger travel, accounting for 44% of the total. It is also the most energy intensive and environmentally dangerous transportation form. Vehicles emit many greenhouse gases, as well as many other pollutants, such as heavy metals. Since the mid-90s, the number of private cars has been growing rapidly, this growth is expected to continue, along with the accompanying GHG emissions. The stock of public vehicles in Ukraine has not been renewed over the last decade, nor has it been maintained according to the technological practices and standards.

Source: National GHG Inventory of Ukraine

Methods to Improve Efficiency in Transportation

There are three key policy areas where the energy efficiency in the transportation sector can be promoted: general development strategy, economic instruments to reduce demand, and technological solutions. These policies, in turn, will curb the growth of GHG emissions in the transportation sector.

General Development Strategy

The focus of the national strategy in Ukraine is the transportation system infrastructure. There is а need in careful planning to accommodate the growing private transportation fleet while adjusting the public transport that is reliable, convenient, affordable, and safe. By increasing individual vehicle load and distances traveled, this strategy will limit long-term growth of fuel consumption.

Economic Instruments To Reduce Demand

Economic policy mechanisms to reduce demand for transportation are usually aimed at integrating economic and environmental decision-making. Some of the studies show that tariffs, tax incentives and other similar mechanisms can bring about significant fuel use efficiency, trips length reduction, infrastructure modification (Ministry of Transport of Ukraine 1999).

Fuel Efficiency and Alternative Fuels

The efficiency of fuel use is а major objective of current transportation technology. It is estimated that the average fuel consumption of the current fleet of motor cars could be reduced by 50% by using more efficient engines, lightweight construction, and low-air resistance design. In addition, larger use of liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas, introduction of alternative fuels (natural gas, propane, electric transport) could reduce CO2 emissions by 10-30% (Ministry of Transport of Ukraine, 1999).


The transportation sector is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases emissions and there is а high abatement cost to reduce emissions. Hopefully, Ukraine can learn from the Western countries' mistakes, which shows that the extensive road infrastructure did not solve congestion problems, but often generates more problems, and find its own way.