Banning driving on Sundays and cutting motorway speed limit part of ’10-point plan’ to reduce oil demand

Banning driving on Sundays and cutting the speed limit on motorways by more than five miles per hour have been proposed as ways Britain could reduce its reliance on oil. The suggestions come amid soaring prices and supply challenges driven by the war in Ukraine.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has put forward 10 measures that it says could cut global oil demand by 2.7 million barrels per day within four months. In turn this could help to control stock levels and prices.

The IEA suggests reducing speed limits on motorways by 6mph to 64mph, as well as introducing ‘car-free Sundays’ in major cities.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to cut fuel duty, the tax paid on petrol and diesel prices, by 5p a liter in his Spring Statement on Wednesday (March 23). This would bring it to 52.95p, down from 57.95p paid on every liter, The Mirror reports.

Over the weekend petrol reached 167.03pa liter – up from 165.89p on Thursday. Meanwhile diesel hit 178.97p, up from 177.34p.

“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.

“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.

“Our 10-Point Plan shows this can be done through measures that have already been tested and proven in multiple countries.”

The international energy forum, based in Paris, represents 29 nations. It says cutting highway limits by 10kmh – the equivalent of reducing the national speed limit on our motorways from 70mph to 64mph – could save around 290,000 barrels per day from cars and an additional 140,000 from trucks.

The introduction of car-free Sundays in major cities would cut oil demand by up to 380,000 barrels per day. Overall, if its 10 measures were implemented, the scale of the daily reduction on oil use would be the equivalent of not having to fuel all the cars currently used in China.

Luke Bosdet, the AA’s fuel price expert, said: “If the 5p-a-liter fuel duty cut goes ahead, it becomes 6p once VAT is added. With 55 liters in a typical car fuel tank, that represents a £ 3.30 cost reduction for drivers.

“And with at least a 10p-a-liter cut in wholesale costs currently in the offing, assuming oil stays at around the $ 110 mark, that combined with the duty cut should offer the prospect of at least a 15p-a-liter pump price reduction in the longer term. In the shorter term, it would be reasonable to hope for £ 5 off a tank of petrol by the end of next weekend. “

However, Mr Bosdet said the Chancellor “can’t really be sure” that forecourts will pass on the fuel duty and wholesale cost reductions in their entirety. He added: “More action is needed to enforce fuel price transparency.”

RAC fuel spokesman, Simon Williams, said: “The window for pump prices to come down appears to have been well and truly closed, with both oil prices and therefore wholesale fuel costs once again rising after last week’s big drop, putting yet more pressure on households and businesses. In just the last week, the average cost of a liter of petrol has gone up 3.5p and diesel by a staggering 5.5p.

“Filling up a 55-liter family car now costs £ 91.86 for petrol and £ 98.43 for diesel. Drivers faced with spiralling costs when they fill up will undoubtedly be looking to the Chancellor to act in Wednesday’s Spring Statement, so suggestions fuel duty may be cut from its current level of 57.95p in every liter of fuel sold will be widely welcomed.

“While there has been talk of a 5p cut in fuel duty, this may not be deep enough to make a real difference to drivers who are facing the highest ever costs to fill their tanks. However, ensuring all drivers fairly and fully benefit from the fuel duty cut depends entirely on retailers reducing their prices and not using it as an opportunity to take a greater profit on every liter they sell. On the other hand, reducing VAT, which is a tax on a tax, prevents this from happening and would guarantee drivers benefit fully. “

IEA’s 10-point plan to combat rising oil prices

  1. Reduce speed limits on highways by at least 10 km / h (6mph)
  2. Work from home up to three days a week where possible
  3. Car-free Sundays in cities
  4. Make use of public transport cheaper and incentivise micromobility, walking and cycling
  5. Alternate private car access to roads in large cities
  6. Increase car sharing and adopt practices to reduce fuel use
  7. Promote efficient driving for freight trucks and delivery of goods
  8. Using high-speed and night trains instead of planes where possible
  9. Avoid business air travel where alternative options exist
  10. Reinforce the adoption of electric and more efficient vehicles

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