How to compensate for Russian oil, which will be lacking in world consumption? Even if Iran is able to conditionally deliver millions of barrels in the coming weeks, Russia will remain the world’s largest exporter of oil and petroleum products destined for the rest of the world, with eight million barrels a day. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that up to three million Russian barrels a day will be missing from April due to the war in Ukraine. “The prospect of large-scale production disruptions in Russia threatens to trigger a global oil supply shock,” Therefore, the IEA predicts, which gives its ten recommendations to “reduce oil consumption”. Recommendations for governments and companies that are urgent because they need to be completed within two weeks to be effective.
Reduce the speed limit on motorways by at least 10 km/h.
While remembering “Many countries have [adopté la mesure] during the oil crisis of 1973, including the United States and a number of European countries”, AEI assures “that lowering the speed limit on motorways by 10 km/h from current levels could significantly reduce fuel consumption for cars.” The result: 290,000 barrels of oil per day less if we are talking about cars only, and up to 430,000 barrels of oil if we are talking about trucks as well.
Remote work up to three days a week where possible
The pandemic has popularized remote work, the energy crisis may perpetuate it. This measure is presented as the most effective: a specific day of remote work would mean savings of 170,000 barrels of oil per day and 500,000 barrels if it is increased to three days. While the IEA estimates that a third of jobs in rich countries can be done at home, the oil savings in the United States will be even greater than in Europe, due in part to higher vehicle consumption abroad. Also, vehicles use more fuel in summer than in winter due to air conditioning.
Cars in the garage every Sunday
Although this measure is well known to the French, especially in Paris, the AIE recalls that car-free Sundays had already been introduced in Switzerland, the Netherlands and even West Germany during the 1973 oil crisis. Air quality, reduction of heat islands, reduction of noise pollution… There are other positive aspects of the rebound, assure the agency: “Sundays without cars are conducive to the adoption of walking and cycling, [des mobilités] that create a positive ripple effect throughout the week.” The regulation, applied every Sunday in major cities, would save 380,000 barrels of oil and 95,000 barrels per Sunday per month.
Lower prices for public transport and encourage walking and cycling
Recent examples “showed that reduced or free public transport fares lead to increased ridership,” says the IEA, using the example of New Zealand, which just decided to halve public transport fares for the next three months due to high fuel prices. In France, Dunkirk, Clermont-Ferrand, or more recently Douai, for their part, have made their networks free.
The AIE is also urging employers to be more flexible with working hours to avoid peak hours, and to low-emission areas like Paris or London to encourage more walking and cycling, or even sharing micromobility solutions. Certainly short-term measures, but which would save 330,000 barrels of oil per day.
Variable traffic in major cities
Alternating the resolution of even and odd numbers depending on the day is an old measure that has worked well in many countries, including France, recalls the IEA. If two days a week in large cities with a developed network of public transport to use alternating traffic, then in the short term, you can save 210,000 barrels of oil per day. However, the law is not entirely fair, as the poorest households often have only one car.
Car Sharing and Car Efficiency
AIE recommends car sharing “to reduce the consumption of oil, but also money.” The agency highlights the practice facilitated by new specialized applications. Other simple but effective measures are also suggested: monitor tire pressure and use less air conditioning. “Roughly a 50 percent increase in the average car load in advanced economies every tenth trip and implementing best practices to reduce fuel consumption could save about 470,000 barrels of short-term oil,” calculates AIE.
Work on the delivery of goods and goods
With regard to the transfer of goods, the IEA explains that the drop in supplies to “very short times” streamlining the organization of delivery companies to limit empty trips and upgrading the skills of truck drivers would save 320,000 barrels of oil per day.
Favor TGVs and Night Trains Over Airplanes
High-speed lines connecting cities at a distance of 1000 km from each other, as well as night trains, will replace air traffic. “as far as possible.” “Based on existing high-speed rail infrastructure, about 2% of aviation activity in advanced economies could be shifted to high-speed rail.” says the IEA. France is also often cited as an example, in particular, for its decision to stop flights such as Paris-Nantes or Paris-Bordeaux, even if the choice is not seen as ambitious by environmental associations. Potential savings: 40,000 barrels of oil per day.
Reduce the number of business trips
The conclusion is clear: “Given the congestion of aircraft, premium travel uses three times as much fuel as economy travel.” Therefore, the AEI recommends that some of these business trips be eliminated and replaced by videoconferencing. Based on the experience of the Covid-19 crisis, she calculated that cutting about two in five business air travel could cut oil consumption by 260,000 barrels a day, provided governments adapt their laws to avoid empty flights to avoid paying certain taxes when planes are landing.
Increase the number of electric vehicles
Even if the transition to electric vehicles is launched, there were only 8.4 million electric vehicles in circulation in advanced economies, a mode of consumption well below thermal consumption. However, in order to reduce the carbon footprint of individual vehicles, the IEA recommends eventually increasing the number of electric vehicles in circulation. But in the short term, to solve problems with the supply of raw materials and semiconductors, the priority, according to the IEA, is to ensure the supply of already purchased equipment. Target: Based on projected sales of electric vehicles and most fuel-efficient vehicles, 100,000 barrels of oil per day can be saved over the next four months.