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Transportation-Related Final Demand

Transportation-Related Final Demand

Total transportation-related final demand rose by 37 percent between 1990 and 2001 (in 1996 chained dollars1) from $719.8 billion to $984.1 billion (figure 100). However, transportation-related final demand as a share of GDP showed little change throughout the period. This implies that transportation-related final demand grew at about the same rate as GDP. In 2001, the share of transportation-related final demand in GDP was 11 percent, the same as in 1990.

Personal consumption of transportation—which includes household purchases of motor vehicles and parts, gasoline and oil, and transportation services—is the largest component of transportation-related final demand. It amounted to $751.8 billion in 2001 and accounted for 76 percent of the total transportation-related final demand (figure 101). Govern-ment purchases used to be the second largest component of transportation-related final demand. Since the mid-1990s, however, government purchases and private investment have accounted for about the same share. Government purchases and private domestic investment in 2001 reached $167.2 billion and $168.6 billion, respectively, for shares of 17 percent each.

Net exports were a negative component of transportation-related final demand between 1990 and 2001. In other words, the United States imported more transportation-related goods and services than it exported. This gap has widened in recent years. In 1990, net exports had a –4 percent share in total transportation-related final demand, hitting a low point of –5 percent in 1995. After rising somewhat through 1997, they dropped to –11 percent in 2001. Deficits in the trade of automobiles and other vehicles and parts have been the primary component of the negative net exports of transportation-related goods and services.

Transportation-related final demand is the total value of transportation-related goods and services purchased by consumers and government and by business as part of their investments.2 Transportation-related final demand is part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and its share in GDP provides a direct measure of the importance of transportation in the economy from the demand side. The goods and services included in transportation-related final demand are diverse and extensive, ranging from automobiles and parts, fuel, maintenance, auto insurance, and so on, for user-operated transportation to various transportation services provided by for-hire transportation establishments.


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on data from U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Account Tables, available at http://www.bea.gov, as of October 2002.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 1996 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

2 Also included are the net exports of these goods and services because they represent spending by foreigners on transportation goods and services produced in the United States. Imports, however, are deducted because consumers, businesses, and government purchases include imported goods and services. Therefore, deducting imports ensures that total transportation-related spending reflects spending on domestic transportation goods and services.

Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017