The EU may ban crude oil imports from Russia for six months if a new round of sanctions is approved. With the exception of a few countries, Russian oil products, such as gasoline and diesel, may cease to enter the EU by the end of 2022.

The EU currently relies on Russia for 25% of oil imports, so the ban is designed to harm Russian oil producers and economically weaken Vladimir Putin’s regime. If some of these fossil fuels and the machines they feed were replaced by green alternatives, cutting off oil supplies could also benefit the climate. And there is much to expect in a world where less oil is splashed.

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“Russia produces close 11 million barrels a day of crude oil, says Amy Myers Jaffe, a research professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the United States. higher military fuel needs, and it exports five million to six million barrels a day. ”

Most of this oil is processed and pumped into the tanks of internal combustion engines – cars, trucks, ships and other vehicles that burn fossil fuels. The world transport system – both passenger and freight – is there almost completely dependent (95%) on the alley.

If all oil demand were eliminated and vehicles were electrified or obsolete as a result of pedestrian and cycling initiatives, motorists could get much lower prices every time they refuel, says Tom Stacey, senior lecturer in operations and supply chain management in Anglia . Roskin University:

“Driving a 100-mile electric car will cost an average of £ 4 to £ 6 ($ 5.50 to $ 8.00), compared to £ 13 to £ 16 on a petrol or diesel car.”

Electricity bills rose along with fossil fuel prices last year, which blunted the advantage in the cost of owning an EV. In the autumn of 2021, when the average price per kilowatt-hour of electricity was 0.24 pounds (now expected 0.28 pounds), Stacey estimated that refueling an EV battery in the UK would cost half of what it does to fuel a petrol or diesel car.

However, public charging rates vary, and some of the fast-charging items you’ll find at petrol stations can charge up to £ 34.50 for a full battery. “Financial benefits The transition to EV doesn’t look that strong when electricity costs are high, ”Stacey says.

But while cars with internal combustion engines are picky about fuel – often dependent on gasoline and diesel fuel refined from crude oil – EV batteries are compatible with electricity generated from any source, including solar panels installed on your roof.

“Installing these panels will cost money (although prices fall every year), but once they are installed and the sun shines, you can charge your car while it sits on your drive. Considering that the average car” I use 95% time, it gives a lot of time to charge for free from the sun, ”says Stacey.

Planning for the future without oil

The pain from a gas pump alone is not enough to reduce oil demand and stimulate the purchase of electric vehicles however massively. This is evidenced by the research of Robert Hamlin, a senior lecturer in marketing at Otaga University in New Zealand.

Hamlin studied the 1973 oil crisis when producer countries imposed an embargo that quadrupled oil prices to see how consumer behavior reacted to fuel price shocks – and whether it could benefit the shift to electric vehicles.

“What do motorists do when faced with a massive and steady rise in gasoline prices? As seen during the crisis of 1973 and beyond, the unequivocal answer to this question is” not very “, – he says.

Hamlin points to the increase in the number of owners of internal combustion engines in New Zealand in the decades after the crisis as evidence that motorists are unlikely to shy away from oil and use electricity. “Instead,” he says, “household resources will be diverted from … costs such as food to pay for the increased cost of fuel.”

This suggests that price signals and consumer choice are not enough to limit climate change or ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of EV. Instead, government planning and policies are likely to matter.

And one policy that will reduce the amount of oil we burn reducing the work week. The UK just enjoyed the weekend in early May, when many jobs were closed on Monday. Today, Chala, a lecturer in the dynamics of energy storage systems at the University of Lancaster, estimates that each holiday saves more than 100,000 tons of carbon emissions.

This is because fewer working days means fewer car trips, less heating and air conditioning in offices and less energy needs overall. If the long weekend became a permanent fixture, and Britain switched to a four-day week, the carbon savings could be huge, Chala said.

“The rule here is that at higher overall levels of electricity demand, most of the electricity will be generated from fossil fuels,” he says. This is because fossil fuel generators are quickly launched to cover sudden deficiencies. How much CO₂ is produced to generate a unit of electricity at a given time is called the emission intensity.

“Effective replacement of the working day with an additional weekend … will potentially reduce energy consumption on this day by 10% and emission intensity by 17.5%. These two effects are: lower electricity consumption on weekends is combined with lower carbon intensity because less is needed include coal or gas stations that pollute the pollution, so it can potentially reduce emissions any day by 22% in May or 25% in January, ”says Chala.

Extending the weekend by one day could reduce emissions from the UK grid, which is equivalent to removing 1.2 million cars from the roads. “It doesn’t even take into account the carbon savings from reducing congestion,” he says.

Author: Jack Marley – Editor of Environment + Energy, UK edition

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