Use of Energy for transportation

About 28% of the energy Americans use goes to transporting people and goods from one place to another. Cars, vans, and buses are commonly used to carry people. Airplanes, trains and trucks, are used to carry people and freight. Barges and pipelines only carry freight. In 2009, there were about 246 million vehicles (cars, trucks, and buses) in the United States - more than three motor vehicles for every four people.

Cars, light trucks and motorcycles mainly used gasoline; diesel fuel is used mainly by heavier trucks, buses, and trains. Together, gasoline and diesel, and the biofuels ethanol and biodiesel that are added to gasoline and diesel, made up 82% of all the energy used for transportation in the U.S. in 2011.

Hybrid-electric vehicles combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors by reducing the amount of fuel required to move a vehicle. This is why hybrid-electric vehicles can get more miles per gallon of gasoline compared to vehicles that run on gasoline alone.

Automobiles are the most common mode of transportation in the United States. Personal vehicles (like cars and light trucks) consume about 60% of the total energy used for transportation, while commercial vehicles (like large trucks and construction vehicles), mass transit (like airplanes, trains, and buses), and pipelines account for the rest.


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