Reduced speed limits and car free Sundays mooted in plan to save fuel

International Energy Agency launches a 10-point plan to save 2.7 million barrels of oil a day

Fuel gauge

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to threaten the global oil market, the International Energy Agency has proposed a 10-point plan designed to lower global demand and reduce the potential for extreme price hikes.

If fully implemented by advanced economies, the IEA claims the plan’s measures would lower oil demand by 2.7 million barrels a day within four months – equivalent to the oil demand of all the cars in China. 

“This would significantly reduce potential strains at a time when a large amount of Russian supplies may no longer reach the market and the peak demand season of July and August is approaching. The measures would have an even greater effect if adopted in part or in full in emerging economies as well,” the organisation said. The proposals would potentially have a significant impact on drivers, as it suggests car free Sundays, alternating the days different motorists can drive into cities, and reducing speed limits.

“As a result of Russia’s appalling aggression against Ukraine, the world may well be facing its biggest oil supply shock in decades, with huge implications for our economies and societies,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, who launched the plan at a news conference with Barbara Pompili, the Minister for the Ecological Transition of France, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union.

“IEA Member Countries have already stepped in to support the global economy with an initial release of millions of barrels of emergency oil stocks, but we can also take action on demand to avoid the risk of a crippling oil crunch,” Dr Birol said. “Our 10-Point Plan shows this can be done through measures that have already been tested and proven in multiple countries.”

The IEA’s 10 Key actions:

  • Reduce speed limits on highways by at least 10 km/h

    Impact*: Saves around 290 kb/d of oil use from cars, and an additional 140 kb/d from trucks

  • Work from home up to three days a week where possible

    Impact: One day a week saves around 170 kb/d; three days saves around 500 kb/d

  • Car-free Sundays in cities

    Impact: Every Sunday saves around 380 kb/d; one Sunday a month saves 95 kb/d

  • Make the use of public transport cheaper and incentivise micromobility, walking and cycling

    Impact: Saves around 330 kb/d

  • Alternate private car access to roads in large cities

    Impact: Saves around 210 kb/d

  • Increase car sharing and adopt practices to reduce fuel use

    Impact: Saves around 470 kb/d

  • Promote efficient driving for freight trucks and delivery of goods

    Impact: Saves around 320 kb/d

  • Using high-speed and night trains instead of planes where possible

    Impact: Saves around 40 kb/d

  • Avoid business air travel where alternative options exist

    Impact: Saves around 260 kb/d

  • Reinforce the adoption of electric and more efficient vehicles

    Impact: Saves around 100 kb/d (kb/d = thousand barrels of oil a day.)

Would you like to see the UK adopt any of the measures in the IEA’s 10-point plan? Let us know in the comments

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