The IEA’s plan to reduce oil consumption

Cyclists pictured in Lisbon, Portugal, in October 2018.

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Speed ​​limits on highways should be reduced by at least 10 kilometers per hour (6.2 mph) to help reduce oil demand, the International Energy Agency said on Friday.

The recommendation is part of a larger 10-point plan released by the Paris-based organization.

“We estimate that the full implementation of these measures in advanced economies alone can reduce oil demand by 2.7 million barrels per day over the next four months, compared to current levels,” the report said. the IEA.

The figure of 2.7 million equals the oil demand of all cars in China, he added in a press release. Partial or full adoption of the measures in emerging economies would amplify their effect, he also said.

The plan comes at a time when oil markets are facing significant uncertainty and volatility following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

Russia is a major supplier of oil and gas, but its actions in Ukraine have led several economies to try to find ways to reduce their dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.

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In a press conference broadcast via Zoom on Friday morning, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol described oil markets as being in an “emergency situation”. Birol added that things “could get worse” over the next few months.

In this context, other IEA suggestions for reducing oil demand include:

  • Work from home up to three days a week, if possible.
  • Car-free Sundays for cities.
  • Reduce the cost of public transport and encourage people to walk and cycle.
  • Avoid business air travel when other options are available.
  • Traveling on high-speed or overnight trains instead of flying when possible.
  • And boost the adoption of electric and “more efficient” vehicles. The full list can be read here.

“Reducing oil consumption should not remain a temporary measure,” the IEA report says. “Sustained reductions are desirable not only to improve energy security, but also to combat climate change and reduce air pollution.”

He added that governments had “all the necessary tools at their disposal to reduce oil demand in the years to come, which would support efforts to both enhance energy security and meet vital climate goals.”

A number of organizations are calling for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, but achieving such a goal is a gargantuan task. The vast majority of cars on our roads, for example, still run on gasoline or diesel, while energy companies continue to discover new deposits of oil and gas in various places around the world.

In a statement on Friday, the IEA acknowledged that the majority of its proposals “would require changes in consumer behavior, supported by government action.”

“How these actions are implemented and whether they are implemented depends on the specific circumstances of each country – in terms of energy markets, transport infrastructure, social and political dynamics and other aspects. “, said the IEA.

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Also commenting on the IEA projects, Barbara Pompili, French Minister for Ecological Transition.

“France and all European countries must get out of their dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible, in particular Russian fossil fuels,” she said.

“It is an absolute necessity, for the climate but also for our energy sovereignty. The plan proposed today by the IEA offers interesting avenues, some of which are in line with our own ideas for reducing our dependence on oil.”

The IEA report follows the release of another 10-point plan centered on reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas.