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IEA calls for driving restrictions and air travel curbs to reduce oil demand

IEA calls for driving restrictions and air travel curbs to reduce oil demand

Energy agency warns 2.5mn barrels a day of Russian oil exports could cease from next month

The International Energy Agency has called for member countries to adopt “emergency measures” to cut oil demand in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including driving restrictions, lower speed limits and curbs on air travel.

Fatih Birol, head of the energy watchdog, on Friday warned that such steps might be necessary because “oil markets are in an emergency situation . . . and it may get worse”.

As much as 2.5mn barrels a day of Russian oil exports could cease from next month due to the impact of the war and consumer boycotts of Russian crude, he said. Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers. The IEA has proposed 10 measures to reduce oil demand by 2.7m b/d within the next four months, which it said would help balance potential loss from the Russian market. “As a result of Russia’s appalling aggression against Ukraine, the world may well be facing its biggest oil supply shock in decades,” Birol said. He urged IEA member countries — which include many of the world’s largest energy consumers such as the US, Japan and Germany — to cut demand now, “to avoid the risk of a crippling oil crunch”.

The measures include cutting speed limits on highways by 10kph, which would save 430,000 b/d, reducing business air travel and taking trains instead of planes where possible.

Working from home three days a week would also help cut oil demand, along with making public transport cheaper or even free. Many of the proposals would cut down on driving, including banning private cars from cities on Sundays and limiting private car access to roads in large cities.

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