Energy Used in Transportation

Regional transportation emissions continue to be significant

Emissions from the transportation sector remain a largely unaddressed challenge in the region. 

Emissions have stabilized – at least for now

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) grew significantly, peaked in 2006, and have declined slightly over the last several years most likely due to higher fuel prices and the continuing evolution of the region's employment market. Following a similar trend, emissions peaked in 2007 and have since declined to 1999 levels. Increases in vehicle fuel economy have helped make the emissions decline greater than that of VMT. New federal fuel economy standards will continue to lower transportation emissions, but this will be offset by any rebound in VMT growth.

Inefficient development patterns lead to wasteful emissions

Transportation emissions are closely connected to development patterns and sprawl. As more housing is constructed farther from employment centers, shopping, and public transportation, more people are driving farther, resulting in longer travel times as well as increased traffic congestion and emissions.

State transportation budgets continue to focus on promoting and supporting personal vehicles

State transportation budgets and planning focus on highway infrastructure instead of on low-carbon transportation options, such as public transportation, cycling, and walking.