This paper presents an overview of the resource consumption and environmental impact of the United Kingdom's transport system for the period between 1970 and 2010, For the purpose of this analysis the concept of exergy has been employed both to quantify and aggregate the energy used and the atmospheric emissions arising from the sector. Our analysis illustrates and elucidates the disproportionate increase of the overall exergy consumed by the transport sector when compared to that of other UK economic sectors. Furthermore, its environmental impact and, in particular, the trends in the emission of the main ambient air Pollutants and greenhouse gases is discussed. Exergy efficiency and intensity time series are also calculated and recommendations are made in order to minimize the sector's environmental impact and to facilitate a shift towards a more sustainable transport system. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.