The International Energy Agency has suggested cutting down on car and plane travel. 

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says restricting movements could help reduce global oil demand.

“We are experiencing a major crisis,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said at a press conference on the weekend. 

“Oil markets are in an emergency situation. And not only that – it may even get worse than today in the next few months.”

A new report by the agency says “practical actions by governments and citizens” could cut oil demand, make fuel cheaper for consumers, and shrink Russia’s hydrocarbon revenue. It also says this would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

If fully carried out in advanced economies, the measures recommended by the IEA’s new 10-Point Plan to Cut Oil Use could lower oil demand by 2.7 million barrels a day within four months – equivalent to the oil demand of all the cars in China.

It proposes reducing the amount of oil consumed by cars through lower speed limits, working from home, occasional limits on car access to city centres, cheaper public transport, more carpooling and other initiatives – and greater use of high-speed rail and virtual meetings instead of air travel.

The IEA’s 10 proposed actions are;

  • Reduce speed limits on highways by at least 10 km/h, saving around 290 thousand barrels of oil per day (kb/d) of oil use from cars, and an additional 140 kb/d from trucks

  • Work from home up to three days a week where possible. The IEA says one day a week saves around 170 kb/d; three days saves around 500 kb/d

  • Car-free Sundays in cities to save around 380 kb/d; one Sunday a month saves 95 kb/d

  • Make the use of public transport cheaper and incentivise micromobility, walking and cycling, potentially saving around 330 kb/d

  • Alternate private car access to roads in large cities, to save around 210 kb/d

  • Increase car sharing and adopt practices to reduce fuel use, saving up to 470 kb/d

  • Promote efficient driving for freight trucks and delivery of goods, which it says would save around 320 kb/d

  • Using high-speed and night trains instead of planes where possible (saves around 40 kb/d)

  • Avoid business air travel where alternative options exist, saving around 260 kb/d

  • Reinforce the adoption of electric and more efficient vehicles to save around 100 kb/d