Four major factors jointly influence fuel consumption and energy use by transportation:
- Vehicle. Linked with fuel efficiency, particularly the engine and the fuel it uses. There are substantial engineering efforts to design more fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Infrastructure. Linked transport efficiency as the capacity and condition of transport infrastructures can influence energy consumption. This is particularly the case for transport terminals, such as those handling freight. Terminal equipment, such as cranes, are large consumers of energy.
- Demand. Linked with the level of economic activity; the higher the level of economic activity, the more energy is used due to higher passenger mobility and more demand for goods and services.
- Spatial structure. Linked with the average transport distance. The distribution of economic activities and the structure of transport networks are a direct expression of the spatial structure and the travel distances it implies.