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Is the fuel crisis a blessing in disguise? logo

Is the fuel crisis a blessing in disguise?

It depends on your point of view, of course, but there is some evidence that the surge in oil prices is succeeding where green campaigners and government initiatives have not: in persuading people to drive less. This means a cut in carbon dioxide emissions, and ultimately, less global warming. It also means less money handed over by hard-pressed motorists at their local forecourt.

Earlier this month, the International Energy Agency reported that UK petrol sales had collapsed by up to 20% over the past year. Motorists, the agency said, were switching to public transport.

Perhaps, says the Association of Train Operating Companies, although passenger numbers have been increasing steadily for a decade or more. What is clear is that trains have not emptied of people the way they did during the last recession in the early 1990s. Bus operator Stagecoach also says passenger numbers are up, though again it is difficult to spot a recent spike against a long-term steady rise.

The AA says up to two-thirds of motorists are thinking of cutting back. The RAC Foundation suggests two-car families may be leaving the gas-guzzler in the garage and relying more on the economic run-around. Halfords reports an upswing in commuter bike sales, as well as repairs and accessories.

Perhaps drivers are also taking it easier; “eco-driving” – less right foot action on both the brake and the accelerator – can save the equivalent of 9p a litre. And traffic speeds on the M6 from Birmingham to Carlisle and around the M25 are down slightly on last year, according In 2005, leaked documents showed the government considered stricter enforcement of the 70mph limit for environmental reasons was too “politically sensitive”. Saving money, it seems, is acceptable to all. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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