Calls to ban Sunday drives and cut motorway speed limits to address fuel cost crisis

Energy forum reveals 10-point plan to reduce oil demand and stabilise costs as prices continue to rise

Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 12:08 pm

A ban on Sunday driving in cities and a reduction in motorway speed limits are among measures being suggested to help bring the current fuel price crisis under control.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has set out 10 steps it believes could help cut demand for oil, which would in turn help stabilise prices which have rocketed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Fuel prices have soared by 16p per litre for petrol and 14.5p for diesel since the start of the month and are now at £1.67 for petrol and £1.79 for diesel.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce a cut in fuel duty in his Spring Statement, bringing the levy down to 52.95p per litre, which could ease pressure on drivers slightly but the IEA has developed a package of other steps it says will help cut prices.

Among them are introducing car-free Sundays in some major cities and reducing motorway speed limits by 10km per hour - equivalent to 4mph on UK roads.

The Paris-based energy forum says that cutting speed limits could save the equivalent of around 290,000 barrels of oil per day from cars and an additional 140,000 from trucks.

A city centre car ban would save an additional 380,000 barrels a day, according to its calculations.

The IEA says that its 10 measures could cut global oil demand by 2.7million barrels per day within four months. This would help stabilise under-pressure stock levels, which should bring down wholesale prices and, eventually, the price drivers pay at the pump.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol said: “As a result of Russia’s appalling aggression against Ukraine, the world may well be facing its biggest oil supply shock in decades, with huge implications for our economies and societies.

“IEA member countries have already stepped in to support the global economy with an initial release of millions of barrels of emergency oil stocks, but we can also take action on demand to avoid the risk of a crippling oil crunch.

“Our 10-point plan shows this can be done through measures that have already been tested and proven in multiple countries.”

Other steps outlined in the plan include most people working from home three days a week, cuts to public transport costs and more car sharing among commuters. It also suggests incentivising “micromobility” such as cycling and cutting business air travel.