This article examines energy consumption in Sweden, Holland, Italy and Spain over 200 years, including both traditional and modern energy carriers. The analysis is based on totally new series of energy consumption including traditional carriers along with modern sources. Our main purposes are a closer examination of the process of the energy transition in Europe and a revision of the prevailing idea of there being, over the long run, an inverted U-curve in energy intensity. Changes in energy consumption are decomposed into effects from population growth, economic growth and energy intensity. The results on energy intensity challenge the previous suggestions of most scholars. An inverted U-curve does not exist whenever we include traditional sources of energy in our analysis.