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A car-free Sunday per month and slower highway driving: 10 steps to use less oil

A car-free Sunday per month and slower highway driving: 10 steps to use less oil

The last Sunday without cars with us dates back to September 19th © David Van Heck

Prices at the pump may have gone down because the government charges less excises, but oil is still very expensive. With the IEA’s 10-point plan, we’ll be using 2.7 million barrels less in four months, it seems. The agency is putting these measures on the table.

• Reduce the speed limit on highways by at least 10 km/h, asks the IEA. “A reduction in speed limits can be implemented by national governments. Many countries did this already during the 1973 oil crisis,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

Work from home three days a week whenever possible to significantly reduce mobility.

Organizing a car-free Sunday in the cities† In addition to reduced fuel oil consumption, benefits include cleaner air, reduced noise pollution and improved road safety, according to an IEA report.

Make public transportation cheaper Encouraging walking and cycling. New Zealand, for example, is halving public transportation prices for the next three months in response to higher fuel prices, while studies in the US have shown that cheaper fares lead to more use. Some governments have encouraged people to walk or buy bicycles. All of this requires government support. We’re seeing public transportation prices go up, even though the federal government is offering an amount to offset the more expensive NMBS ticket prices.

Don’t allow all city traffic anymore† Except for electric cars, cars with a license plate ending in an odd number are allowed to enter the city one day, and cars with an even number will be allowed the next. The disadvantage is that families with several cars can circumvent the rules.

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Invest more in car sharing. This reduces fuel consumption and saves you a lot of money.

Make trucks run more efficiently† As with passenger cars, trucks can be driven more efficiently, for example by using so-called “green driving” techniques, such as reducing excess weight and not decelerating or accelerating suddenly. Loads should also be optimized to avoid driving with empty vehicles.

Use high speed trains and night trains instead of planes. Based on the current high-speed rail infrastructure, about 2 percent of flights in developed economies could be diverted to trains, according to the International Energy Agency. It concerns almost exclusively trips of less than 800 km.

Avoid air travel for work if there are alternatives. The International Energy Agency recommends virtual meetings whenever possible, noting that companies such as HSBC, Zurich Insurance and S&P Global plan to cut business travel emissions by up to 70 percent.

Stimulating electric driving more† By the end of last year, there were 8.4 million electric vehicles on the road. But according to the International Energy Agency, the transition is still too slow.