The UK is overly reliant on Russian oil and diesel. Just under a fifth of the diesel we consume comes from Russia, and this costs the country over £3 billion a year. Furthermore, the UK also sources 5% of its jet fuel supply from Russia. This has been the case for years, but what is new is the fact that our imports from Russia are now helping fund Putin’s war in Ukraine. There is now a moral and energy security imperative, recognized by Government, to stop Russian imports as quickly as possible. This briefing paper sets out steps as to how this can be done.
Most of the diesel we consume is burnt in cars, vans and trucks, which can’t be replaced quickly. But there are measures and policies the Government could put in place to quickly and permanently reduce the oil imports they burn. This briefing has split these measures into actions the Government could take immediately, and in the short, medium and long term. Where possible, the briefing has quantified the percentage reduction possible by the measures.
Immediate measures include running a public awareness campaign that makes individuals aware of actions they could take to reduce petrol/diesel consumption. Reducing the speed limit on motorways will also reduce petrol and diesel demand. Short-term measures include requiring schools and large businesses to implement travel plans, whilst reducing the costs of cycling and public transport. Medium term measures include introducing a targeted scrappage scheme for diesel taxis, raising the purchase grants on offer for vans, and changing the VED tax system. Long-term measures include introducing regulations around trucks, and using Government procurement to source UK-produced sustainable aviation fuel.
For the sake of Ukraine and the UK’s energy security, these measures to reduce dependence on Russian oil should be implemented quickly.
Originally published on Transport & Environment.
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