With gas prices at an all-time high, the international body tasked with ensuring the world’s oil supply has issued a new plea: drive less to avoid a worsening energy crisis. That was the main message from a 10-point plan presented today by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as the world approaches peak oil demand season.
« As a result of Russia’s heinous action against Ukraine, the world may be facing its biggest oil supply shock in decades, with major ramifications for our economy and societies, » stated IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol in a news release. « We can also adopt demand-side actions to avoid a devastating oil shortage. »
The organization estimates that if advanced economies, which account for about half of global oil demand, cut back on their oil use, they could reduce demand by 2.7 million barrels per day within four months. According to the IEA, this would be equivalent to removing the demand for oil from all of China’s automobiles.
According to the IEA, some of the most effective ways to reduce gas usage are surprisingly simple. To begin, carpool. You could, of course, take public transportation, walk, or bike instead. The IEA requests that public transportation operators cut their fares in order to attract more people to use buses and trains.
The IEA also recommends working from home several times per week to prevent commuting. The most significant change it recommends is for communities to declare « Car-Free Sundays. » At the bottom of the list is a recommendation to « encourage the adoption » of electric and more efficient automobiles – electric cars won’t rescue consumers from rising expenses regardless.
If you must drive your old gas-guzzler somewhere, the IEA recommends taking other measures to increase fuel efficiency, such as dialing down the air conditioning and maintaining your car’s tire pressure. Reduce your speed; the IEA advises decreasing speed restrictions. Of course, cars aren’t the only vehicles that use oil; the IEA advocates choosing a train or other modes of transit instead when flying.
While these steps were prompted by the immediate crisis of war, it is important to become accustomed to these changes in the long run. After all, oil dependence exacerbates other difficulties. « Reducing oil use must not be viewed as a one-time action, » the IEA stated today. « Sustained reductions are critical not only for improving countries’ energy security, but also for combating climate change and lowering air pollution. »