Transforming Transportation: ‘Where there's policy, there's progress’

Main Image
Sheila Watson (right): ‘Where there’s policy, there’s progress’
Sheila Watson (right): ‘Where there’s policy, there’s progress’

Sustainable Mobility for All was the theme of the 2017 Transforming Transportation conference, hosted by the World Bank in Washington D.C., jointly organised with the WRI Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities, and co-funded by the FIA Foundation.

In a session exploring the Transport-Energy nexus Sheila Watson, FIA Foundation Deputy Director and Executive Secretary of the Global Fuel Economy Initiative, set out how the Global Fuel Economy Initiative is working to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 on energy through improved fuel economy globally, which contributes to SDG target 7.3 on energy efficiency. Sheila also shared GFEI’s latest research into global fuel economy trends over the decade from 2005-2015.

Currently over half of oil consumption annually is from transport. With increasing numbers of vehicles globally, particularly in emerging economies such as China and India, transport energy use is set to grow further. GFEI’s analysis suggests that doubling fuel economy would 3 billion barrels of oil a year in 2050, or 54 billion barrels of oil by 2050. This would also save 1.5Gt of carbon dioxide a year by 2050, and $8 trillion net. Analysis by the International Energy Agency for GFEI that suggests that fuel economy improvements since 2005 have saved 1.5 EJ of energy, or the equivalent of Italy’s annual energy use.

GFEI’s research led by the IEA shows that fuel economy is continuing to improve globally, although not at the levels required to reach GFEI’s targets. Whilst some countries are achieving fuel economy improvements as a result of policy change, others are stagnating or not doing enough to counteract a trend towards larger vehicles through wider improvements in fuel economy. GFEI’s message to policy makers is that fuel economy policies work and more needs to be done to ensure potential reductions are realised. Sheila Watson summarised: “Where there is policy there is progress - no policy, no progress.”

The annual event, held on 12-13 January, was opened by World Resources Institute CEO Andrew Steer and World Bank Vice President Laura Tuck (main photo above) and brought together hundreds of transport policymakers, NGOs and researchers.