Use less air-con, drive slower to shun Russian energy and save money, IEA urges

The International Energy Agency recommends Europeans work from home where possible, share cars, avoid driving on Sundays in large cities, and use bikes, public transport, or walk more

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Raise your air-conditioner’s temperature, adjust your boiler settings, drive slower, and swap short-haul flights for trains: some of the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s advice on how consumers can help reduce reliance on Russian energy and cut their bills.

Energy saving has long been needed to meet climate goals, but months of soaring energy prices and a scramble to cut reliance on Russian fossil fuels following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine have pushed the issue up the political agenda.

In a guide launched with the European Commission on Thursday, April 21, the Paris-based IEA recommended Europeans work from home where possible, share cars, avoid driving on Sundays in large cities, and use bikes, public transport, or walk more.

The IEA said if followed, the recommendations could save 450 euros per year on the energy bill of a typical EU household, depending on factors such as the type of home and car owned.

Just turning down the thermostat by 1°C could shave 70 euros off a household’s heating bill, while driving on average 10 kilometers per hour slower on motorways could save another 60 euros per year on fuel, it said.

If done EU-wide, the measures could save 220 million barrels of oil per year and 17 billion cubic meters of gas, the IEA said.

The 27-country EU has pledged to stop Russian fuels by 2027, but in the short term remains dependent on Moscow for 26% of its oil imports and 40% of its gas – importing 155 billion cubic meters of Russian gas per year.

If Russia were to cut off gas supplies, or if the EU sanctioned Russian gas, far wider…

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