How to Reduce Gasoline Dependence? Keep Cars off the Roads

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The International Energy Agency proposed that many nations can reduce their reliance on gasoline by reducing highway speed limits, working from home more often, increasing the use of public transportation, and most importantly, any plan that would greatly reduce the total number of vehicles on the road.

A new analysis by Streetsblog the International Energy Agency’s recent proposal of 10 ways countries around the world can reduce their reliance on gasoline. In brief, the IEA’s 10-point plan argues that advanced nations can reduce oil demand in four months by reducing highway speed limits; working from home up to three days each week; establishing “car-free Sundays in cities”; increasing the use of public transportation; establishing “alternate car access to roads in cities”; increasing car-sharing; promoting “efficient driving for trucks”; making use of existing high-speed-rail and night train systems; cutting the use of business flights; and increasing the use of electric vehicles and other “more efficient vehicles.”

In its analysis, Streetsblog argues that the “most impactful” proposals are the ones that aim to reduce the number of vehicles on the streets in the first place. Working from home three days each week would save 500,000 barrels of oil per day; carpooling would save 470,000 barrels of oil per day; and car-free Sundays in cities would save 380,000 barrels of oil per day. The IEA’s plan, as Streetsblog stresses, is also a refreshing counterpoint to the increasingly popular calls by US lawmakers for increased gas drilling and the lifting of gas taxes. 

While many state and federal leaders have either proposed or begun to roll out gas tax holidays, experts cited by Streetsblog argue that these treat the symptoms rather than the disease. As the environment campaigns director for the US Public Interest Research Group told Streetsblog, “A gas tax holiday might help consumers in the short run, but by further cementing our dependence on fossil fuel-fired cars, it will only leave Americans even more vulnerable to the next crisis.” He argued further that the US’s entire transportation system needs to be reformed, elevating the use of clean, safe, efficient public transport. 

More information on the International Energy Agency’s 10-point plan to reduce gasoline dependence in advanced nations is available via the IEA and Streetsblog.

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