Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy
The data regarding domestic final energy consumption originates from the TREMOD (Transport Emissions Estimation Model) database at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. TREMOD is a model for evaluating transport emissions. The data record fuel consumption within Germany irrespective of where refuelling takes place. “Final energy” refers to that part of the total energy used that is directly consumed in transport. It does not cover the conversion losses that arise during the production of fuels or any pipeline losses that may occur.
TREMOD also supplies the goods transport volumes which are used to calculate the specific energy consumption of this sector. Air freight transport is not included, as it accounts for negligibly small volumes.
By definition, the indicator for final energy consumption in goods transport refers to consumption within Germany. It gives only an inadequate reflection of the German economy’s increasingly complex international ties in a globalised world. As a result, transport flows and the associated energy consumption that arises due to German exports and imports are not included.
The energy-consumption data presented here is supplemented by energy efficiency, or energy consumed per tonne-kilometre. The number of tonne-kilometres provides information about the extent to which transport intensity or the distance per transported tonne changes.
Contrary to the German Government’s target, final energy consumption for the carriage of goods was 6.2% higher in 2018 compared with 2005. Goods thereby accounted for almost 30% of total final energy consumption in the transport sector. The sharp increase can be attributed primarily to freight transport by road. Final energy consumption in road goods transport increased by 7.8% during this period, while consumption for rail and inland shipping was significantly reduced (-5.3% and -26.7% respectively).
During the same period, goods transport volumes increased by 22.0%. In conjunction with comparable energy consumption in 2005 and 2018, this means a significant increase in efficiency of 13.0% during that time.
During the economic crisis of 2009, price-adjusted gross value added in the manufacturing industry suffered a particularly sharp decline of just under 20%. This heavy loss particularly affected the transport sector, which reacts directly to increases and falls in the production of goods. The resultant decrease in the utilisation of transport capacity explains why average energy consumption per tonne-kilometre rose slightly despite the sharp fall in overall energy consumption in absolute terms during the crisis years.
Besides the more short-term consequences of the economic crisis of 2009, a number of long-term ramifications also affected the development of final energy consumption in goods transport during the 2005 to 2018 review period. For instance, there was a decrease in the average number of manufacturing steps a company performs, something that is normally associated with greater transport volumes because companies procure more intermediate goods from domestic and international suppliers. Furthermore, the average distance between where goods are manufactured and where they are used increased, which also caused transport volumes to rise. These effects are countered by a shift towards a less material-intensive pattern of demand (e.g. increasing demand for services). The resulting change in the composition of goods volumes dampened the increase in transport-related energy consumption.