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How Kenya can also help reduce crude oil demand

Spilt crude oil. [File, Standard]

The International Energy Agency has come up with a 10-point plan to reduce oil demand.

The 10-point plan, which is easily implementable in Kenya, could actually cut global oil demand by 2.7 barrels a day within four months.

The idea is to reduce anticipated supplies during the upcoming peak season of July and August caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The first suggestion is a reduction of speed limits on highways by 10 km/r. Cars tend to consume more fuel when at higher speeds. The next point is to encourage more employees to work from home with IEA suggesting up to three days a week.

This was largely implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic peak and most organisations discovered they could also save on office space. With less movement between home and office, less fuel will be consumed.

Kenya can also improve public service and encourage walking and cycling. Lack of efficient public transport contributes to more private cars on the road, particularly intra-city travel. With efficient public transport, fewer people would opt to spend high amounts on fuel.

Car-pooling, which again has been mooted in Kenya, has been listed as a key strategy. This is a two-pronged sword that will help the world save on crude oil use and reduce demand and by extension traffic congestion.

The IEA suggests that business air travel should be reduced where alternative options exist. By extension, road travel could also be reduced where alternative options exist. We have already learnt that we can have effective meetings and interviews online. IEA is also encouraging more use of speed trains instead of planes. The other suggestion that could also work in Kenya is to increase incentives for use of electric vehicles.

Although the government has reduced taxes for importing electric cars, it could borrow a leaf from Rwanda. In Rwanda, you pay zero taxes for importing an electric car. You can imagine the impact on the number of electric cars that would be in use in Kenya. So far, this is the best suggestion in the 10-point plan. It will help conserve the environment and reduce dependence on crude oil. Kenya should not take lightly the anticipated crisis.

Kenyans are already suffering from the highest price of fuel in recent times and as things stand it can only get worse. The Ministry of Energy should consult global energy experts on how best to implement the 10-point plan. The ingenuity used to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, is hereby greatly needed. The crisis could as well be an opportunity for the world to move on from oil dependence as it did from coal.

-The writer is an anchor at Radio Maisha