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Energy Efficiency in the Saudi Transport Sector Essay

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Updated: Oct 2nd, 2019


Saudi Arabia is one of the countries in the world that relies heavily on energy to prosper economically. Energy is a very important factor that determines the productivity of economy sectors like the transport industry.

Other economy sectors, such as the industrial, health and commercial sectors, also rely heavily on the available energy resources. Nevertheless, economists find the transport sector as the backbone or structure that supports other economic sectors.

Apparently, the transport sector uses a lot of energy, which if not effectively used can lead to an energy crisis. From this perspective, it is therefore important to understand the need for energy efficiency in any given economy.

Saudi Arabia has a transport sector that has several modes of transport namely; marine, air, and road. The three transport modes have been growing in the last decades, an indication that the country’s economy has been growing significantly.

In this respect, the demand for energy also increases significantly. Another factor that has led to an increased demand for energy is the increasing population. Most of the regions in the country have resulted in urbanization a feature that indicates there has been a lot of industrialization within some of these regions.

The Saudi Arabian government in this respect has deemed it important to invest in other energy-saving mechanisms that oversee the creation of energy production technologies. This initiative was projected to cost the Saudi Arabian government $100 billion by the year 2020.

In this context, the transport infrastructure and network will be integral in placing the country as a transport hub connecting continents on the east and the west of the Saudi Arabian country. The great transport will improve the country’s GDP as well as the general economy.

As indicated earlier, the government is in dire need to ensure there is energy efficiency in terms of consumption. In addition, it is important to ensure that the transport industry adopts efficient means to make sure that there is no energy crisis.

The following is a discussion on transport and energy efficiency in Saudi Arabia. The discussion focuses on alternative means transport that ensures efficiency in energy usage as well as new energy alternatives.

Alternative Transportation

For a long time, Saudi Arabia has been using three major transport modes; a road, marine and air. It is therefore important to acknowledge the fact that there are other means of transport, which use less energy. Moreover, these new transport alternatives are diverse and require diversification of energy production.

Basically, this requires government innovation in reducing energy consumption and implementing alternative transportation that requires less energy.

Public Transportation

Many countries in the world have been known to adopt public transportation as away of saving energy and especially fuel. Not only does public transportation ease congestion on the roads, but also ensures there is lesser fuel consumption.

This is a strategic way of saving energy in the transport industry, considering that the country uses a large percentage of oil as energy. Public transport does not only reduce domestic fuel consumption, but also stabilizes the global energy market.

This can be crucial in ensuring that the country continues to export oil to other countries. In a typical public transport scenario, public service buses and trains use a fifth to half as much energy as those of private and personal cars per passenger.

This is based on every kilometer covered by a single person. In this context, the country requires to engage vehicle manufactures into making a high capacity vehicle that carries more passengers.

In addition, energy saving measures will ensure that public service buses have fewer intermediate stops, with specific speed limits and reliable route networks. In addition, regulating the age of vehicles used in public transport is essential in saving fuel consumption.

Use of electric trains has also become a phenomenon in many developing countries. In this context, Saudi Arabia should adopt this mode of transport. This transportation has a considerable high carrying capacity for passengers. Moreover, electric trains are flexible, faster, and reliable and can be used in urban centers.

Most importantly, electric trains are environmentally friendly. In order to optimize the use of electric energy, it is also possible to use electric vehicles. These electric vehicles are efficient in terms of energy usage, speed and convenience.

It is also recommendable for people who live within the proximity of their places of work to walk. In order to ensure that walking to work is safe, the government will be required to build sub-ways that connect streets and residential areas.

Carpooling is also another method that ensures there is an efficient use of fuel. Carpooling is recommendable for people living in the same area and goes to work at the same place.

In order to ensure that public transport is effective and efficient, the government requires involving the private sector. The private sector can invest in transportation, and can be instrumental to innovativeness in offering diverse means of transportation.

Alternative Fuels

As indicated earlier, it is recommendable for the government of Saudi Arabia to invest in alternative fuels. The current natural resources for energy are getting depleted at an alarming rate. Some of the fuels that are highly recommended in transportation include gas, electricity, wind, geothermal, solar, hydrogen and bio-fuels.

In recent years, countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have been on the forefront in manufacturing solar-powered vehicles. These vehicles only require solar energy. Saudi Arabia can harness this power into ensuring that the usage of oil as the only energy resources is not overrated.

Moreover, solar energy is one of the environment friendly energy resources. The energy resource does not pollute the environment through the emission of carbon gas.

It is estimated that Saudi Arabia experiences an average of 5.0 full-load wind each day. In any given scenario, this is enough energy potential that can be harnessed to propel turbines that can generate electricity. Consequently, such energy will be used to supplement energy for driving electric vehicles and trains.

Another important alternative fuel is bio-fuel. In order to have enough energy from bio-fuel, Saudi Arabia requires large plantations of Jatropha curcas. Already the country has ensured that at least 5,000 hectares of land are under a pilot project for bio-fuel production. Countries such as India and Australia are known to have vehicles that use bio-fuel.

Natural gas like hydrogen is another form of energy that can be harnessed for transportation purposes. Hydrogen is known for its potential to propel machines. Saudi Arabia can encourage the manufacture and buying of hydrogen powered vehicles.

Other natural fuels that can be used as alternatives include the use of liquefied petroleum gas, which can be processed from biomass and oil. Synthetic fuels from hydro-treated vegetable oils and methane from biomass and wastes are also known to act as complimentary energy fuels.

For the road transport, the Saudi Arabian government should advocate for the use of electricity for vehicles that only travel for short distances. For medium distances, vehicles that use hydrogen are most appropriate, while long distances require vehicles that can use the liquefied petroleum gas.

For the railway transport, electricity is the most commendable source of fuel. The already existing air transport can use kerosene that is harnessed from biomass. The use of hydrogen, nuclear energy and liquefied petroleum gas can be vital in supplementing energy in the marine transportation.

Energy Economic Models

Computable general equilibrium (CGE) models are used as macro-economic models, mostly applicable in analyzing economics in the context of ecological aspects such as energy. In this context, the model will involve the interaction of the transport sector as a sector in the economy and a specific energy market like the oil market.

The engineering models commonly known as the bottom-up models are known in the calculation of energy economics that involve electricity. The model seeks to calculate and identify the optimal cost involved in producing certain electric voltage under certain climatic conditions.

Other essential economic models are the PowerFlex Model and the Electricity Investment Analysis Model that determines the prices for electricity.

Models such as the time-varying co-integrated model are used in energy economics for natural gases to determine price elasticity. Another important model is the energy economy optimization model that aid in projecting the impact of unforeseen issues affecting energy and economy in the future.

Time-Varying Co-Integrated Model

The time-varying co-integrated model is an energy economic model that borrows the mathematical formula of integration in the sense that time series variables are involved. From this aspect, two or more series of the same variable must be involved and linearly combined.

However, the linear combination of the variables must result to a stationary linear combination. In essence, the model is usually used in estimating the demand of energy like oil or electricity. In this context, it is important to explore the relationship of the co-integrating relationships that do exist within the Saudi Arabia’s energy market.

The time-varying co-integrating model must use a demand equation of the underlying energy variables. These energy variables may be electricity, oil or biogas. However, the model works best in the context of electricity energy.

In addition, in analyzing the demand of energy in Saudi Arabia in particular electricity, time data of electricity consumption with a set of the period must be availed. This data is integral in determining the elasticity of the energy’s demand in relation to time-varying elasticity.

For example, such elasticity may be in the use of electricity in electric trains and electric-driven vehicles. Since the time-varying co-integrated model is best suited in analyzing demand, the data availed should range between 5-10 years.

Other important inputs for the time-varying co-integrating model are the use of the income variable and the seasonal variable. The income variable is used to determine the amount of energy used in relation to the production of the same energy. This means that data of electricity usage in Saudi Arabia’s transport sector is required.

On the other hand, the seasonal variable is integral in determining the demand of the energy in varying hours or days. This reflects the relation of the demand of energy and factors determining the demand of the same energy.

Therefore, it is important to note that the inputs for the time-varying co-integrating model are the energy prices and income. These inputs are relatively perceived to be the model’s variables. The demand equation expressed from the models inputs are apparently subjected to a canonical co-integrating regression (CCR).

The CCR is a mathematical method that deals with the elimination of errors derived from an equation. This elimination of error by the CCR is important in an approximation of time series in the time-varying co-integrating model.

In a typical model of the time-varying co-integrating model, the following is used to express electricity demand.

dt = π + γyt + δpt + φzt + ut,

From the equation, the following conclusions can be made:

  • The dt is used to express the demand of the energy in question, which is electricity.
  • On the other hand, yt is used to express the income of the energy or the energy production.
  • The abbreviation pt is used as a variable that expresses the energy’s price.
  • Zt has been used in the equation to express the demand seasonal variable.
  • The denotation of ut is to express the error, which is deemed to be stationary within the equation.
  • It is important to note that these π, γ, δ and φ are variables and are denoted in the form of logarithms.

The significance of the time-varying co-integrating model is that the model can classify the various sectors of the economy into levels for example, the Saudi Arabia’s’ transport sector has been leveled into electric trains and electric vehicles by the model.

In this manner, the transport sector can determine the demand and consumption rate of such transportation levels. The model is also significant in analyzing the impact of substitute’s energy price on the transport sector. Some of these substitute energies include natural gas and petroleum.

The outcome of the model is future prices for the underlying energy, relative energy substitutes, and future energy demand and energy rates of production. This means that the methodology is a forecasting technique of the energy market in relation to a country’s macro-economy.

Energy Optimization Model

An energy optimization model is an economic model that deals with the management of energy systems. In most cases, an energy optimization models works in a complex environment that requires the use of strategies to ensure there is effective planning on an energy resource.

It is most likely that the energy optimization model will focus on effective and efficient methods of using an available energy resource. Most importantly, the model will consider the complexities involved during the production of a certain energy.

Such complexities will include emission of pollutants, depletion of energy resources and the impact of the energy on the country’s economies. As indicated earlier, the model can be significant in allocating resources in an optimum manner.

However, the models ensure that the optimal goal in effective energy management is achieved. In addition, the energy optimization model is a general term that refers to other pertinent models such as the linear optimization model and the global energy system model.

Energy optimization models works best fro renewable energies. Renewable energies are some of the alterative fuels that the country’s requires for it to sustain its energy demand. An example of such renewable energy that Saudi Arabia requires is the wind energy.

In this context, the energy optimization model will be efficient in ensuring that there is optical planning and effective use of resources to ensure that wind energy is economically viable in Saudi Arabia.

In the case of the wind energy in Saudi Arabia, the energy optimization model to be used will highly depend on the inputs of wind farm price, investments costs, equipments, technology and political policies. For wind energy economics to be fully achieved, it is important to analyze the cost implications of such projects.

In most cases, the locality of wind farms will be influenced by government polices and installation, operations and maintenance costs. Wind energy economy is highly affected by technology, since technology is a variable that determines the amount of energy to be produced from the resource.

The outcome of an energy optimization model in analyzing the wind energy will be the technologies to produce such energy, creation of the energy market and provision of technical facilities for the energy production.

It is important to note that wind energy has been sued in many other countries to produce electric energy that is apparently used in the transport sector.

In conclusion, it is fair to state that Saudi Arabia has the potential of producing alternative fuels in its transport sector. Moreover, with the aid of various energy economic models, the country can optimally use its current energies, save energy as well as produce alternative energy resources.

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