As the gruesome war unfolds in Ukraine, my heart goes out to all the victims of Putin’s assault. As a Latvian citizen who is ethnically half-Russian, I also feel for those Russians who are vehemently opposing the war.
Like many other people I am now asking myself what can I do to help?
While some have taken up arms and joined the Ukrainian resistance and others are opening their homes to refugees, there is something that we can all do to weaken Putin’s very ability to wage war. We can cut the quarter of a billion dollars that we send him daily for oil and the simplest way to do this is through our driving habits.
Cars consume around a third of all oil imports Europe gets from Russia. The gasoline and diesel cars we drive consumed $78 billion of oil in 2021, $19 billion of which went directly to Russia.
So, to undermine Putin’s war, Europeans can act now by decreasing unnecessary car use to reduce oil demand.
This should be primarily about efficiency and not targeting those who need their vehicles to go about their daily lives. But those drivers who use gas guzzling SUVs to make a 15-minute journey to the supermarket, should ask themselves if that is really necessary
Additionally, greater emphasis should be placed on other fuel-saving measures such as homeworking, speed limits and also increasing the efficiency of freight operations that utilize fuller trucks on more optimal routes.