Russia is the 2nd biggest oil exporter in the world and Europe is its biggest customer. Russia currently supplies one out of every four barrels of oil consumed in Europe, two thirds of which is used in transport. The UK has announced a ban on Russian oil imports and the European Union has announced a phase out of Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.
“The EU’s plan to cut off Russian oil and stop the flow of money to Putin is welcome. But the solution to our oil addiction can’t be to go searching for another dealer in the Middle East. We need to reduce oil consumption. Almost half of Europe’s demand for Russian oil can be eliminated by 2023, and almost all of it by 2025 by saving fuel and switching to electric vehicles faster, particularly in fleets. This is crucial for Europe’s future security and for the planet.” William Todts, Executive Director, T&E
This paper assesses how, and to what extent, the EU could end imports of Russian petroleum by reducing oil demand instead of creating new dependencies on other authoritarian, human rights abusing oil producers such as Saudi Arabia or Iran.
Our analysis finds a programme of energy savings coupled with a rapid electrification programme could cut oil demand by 38.8 Mtoe by 2023, equivalent to 48% of Russian oil used in Europe’s transport (or 12% of total EU transport demand). There would be a temporary need to secure the remaining 52% from other suppliers. By 2030 EU oil demand could be fully 35% lower than in 2019, fully replacing Russia’s market share.
A focus on energy savings and electrification would ensure Europe’s near term energy security strategy would align with the EU’s climate commitments, but it would also help lower global oil prices.