Urgent we reduce demand for fossil fuels

Sir, – There has been a lot of coverage of the rises in the price of fuel ("Motor fuel could top €2.60 per litre", News, March 14th) as a result of the war in Ukraine. There is no doubt that many people will find these rises extremely challenging, and there is a clear need for the Government to do something.

The problem is that that “something” seems to consist almost entirely of reducing the tax take on fuel for all motorists, which may provide very short-term relief but is unlikely to stave off increases for long.

What has been almost entirely missing from the debate (the usual “green” voices aside) is the urgent need to reduce demand for fossil fuels in the first place.

Without dismissing the very real and immediate concerns for some, there are steps that could be taken today that would reduce demand on fuel by reducing discretionary car journeys, making public transport more attractive, and making it easier to cycle and walk.


As anybody involved in campaigning for better travel infrastructure will be entirely aware, these suggestions are usually met with bad-faith arguments along the lines of “not everyone can cycle”, “I can’t move a piano on the bus” and so on. But the reality is that there are an awful lot of car journeys that could be removed or replaced by far more fuel-efficient substitutes if the incentives were there.

Judging by the unchanged numbers of cars on the roads over the past couple of weeks, having to rely on the climate-damaging output of repressive regimes doesn’t yet seem to be incentive enough, but it would be good if our politicians, along with calling for cheaper fossil fuel, could finally embrace the many reasons why depending on the stuff in the first place isn’t the best idea and start giving people other choices. – Yours, etc,


Salthill, Galway.

Sir, – We have two primary domestic issues right now – fuel costs and house prices.

The major international issue is the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Were the Government to encourage working from home, using legislation with actual bite, all three issues would be impacted. There would be fewer car journeys, house prices would even out across the country while our reliance on Russian fuel would be reduced.

– Yours, etc,


The Tenters,

Dublin 8.