is a method or means of moving one thing from one place to another.
Getting to and from school requires transportation, so does getting
food from fields into grocery stores. The energy for transportation
comes from fossil fuels, like coal, gasoline, and jet fuel, although
researchers are looking at new fuel sources.
Think about all of the different ways you get around. Bikes, skateboards,
wheelchairs, horseback, or your own two feet. The energy you use
to work those methods comes from food. You eat a sandwich and it
provides the energy you need to pedal a bike. Cars, buses, trucks,
planes, trains, and ships require different kinds of energy. Most
mechanical transportation requires fossil fuels.
We Use Transportation
about the different ways we use cars and trucks. We drive to school
and work. We take vacations in our cars, campers, and buses. We
drive around town on errands. We even joyride. Trucks, because they
can hold heavy items or are more rugged, are used to haul goods
and equipment. Plumbers and electricians drive around in trucks.
Semitrailer tractors (semis) carry goods from one location to another,
often driving across country. Some vehicles are even tools themselves.
Cement trucks, tractors, plows...
move large equipment (refrigeration units), other vehicles (new
cars and trucks to dealerships), food (corn and wheat), people (commuters,
tourists), and even raw energy supplies (coal). Planes also move
people (tourists, business partners) and cargo (fruit, pets, letters).
Finally, we come to ships. Large oceangoing vessels haul goods from
country to country, moving agricultural products (oranges and cotton),
fuel (petroleum oil), and manufactured items (furniture, clothing).
One of the most important aspects of transportation is its role
in the global economy. In order for us to run errands to the mall,
grocery store, and post office, there has to be something there
we need. The job of moving those goods and services around belongs
to the role of transportation. Our economy and way of life would
stop in its tracks if we didn't have the energy needed to transport
goods and services.
businesses, professions, and industries require energy for transportation.
Americans don't produce everything we use locally. We have our clothes
sewn in Singapore. We get our winter peaches from Chile. We get
our cars from Korea. We get our wristwatches from China. And the
list goes on. In fact, we import a lot of our energy. We receive
natural gas from Canada, oil from the Middle East, and coal from
Mexico. We also transport items out of the country. Our grain ends
up in ports all over the world, including Russia, China, Japan,
the European Union, among others. Transportation is at the heart
of our economy.
In order to
make decisions about the future of energy, the role of transportation
must be considered. Should vehicles become more efficient in their
use of energy? Should we conserve our use of transportation
relying on mass transit, carpooling, or just driving less? Should
we look even deeper into our lives into how we use transportation
indirectly to fuel our need for over-consumption?
Decisions about the future of energy are not as simple as choosing
new sources of energy. The way we use energy must also be considered.
do you think?
Think about all of the things around you. How many of
these items are local? How many have to be shipped to their
destination? How much energy is required to move goods and
people around? How important is energy's role in transportation?
Administration. International Energy Outlook 2001. "Transportation
Energy Use." Table 22, page 137.
share of emissions in the United States. More
Many Cars in the World?
chart will tell you. More
Fuel efficiency requirements
a cleaner car
This new program, a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE), industry, motor/drive manufacturers and distributors, and
other key participants, is putting information about energy-efficient
electric motor system technology into the hands of people who can
Quality & Energy Use
gasoline, cars and trucks, global warming, and other issues.