EU spending €1 billion a day on oil imports as leaders backtrack on efficient cars
For the first time in history European Union member states are spending over €1 billion every day on imported oil, four times more than in 2003 and smashing all previous records, according to analysis by Transport and Environment (T&E). But European leaders are failing to make the connection between rocketing oil prices and worrying levels of oil dependence on the one hand, and the need to tackle Europe's gas guzzling car fleet on the other.
The European Commission’s ‘five point plan to react to the surge in oil prices’ of September 2005 did not mention the word transport once, despite the fact the sector is responsible for two thirds of EU oil consumption3. In oil policy, transport is ‘the elephant in the room’.
Given the fact that cars form the single biggest category of oil use and that there is an impressive technological potential to make them more fuel efficient, the single most effective measure the EU can take to reduce its rapidly rising oil import bill is to introduce mandatory fuel efficiency targets.
Such a policy would decrease the value lost from oil imports and is very likely to increase value added in the car industry.