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Transport Minister Eamon Ryan. Sam Boal
transport minister

Eamon Ryan says 'a practical example' to cut fuel consumption is to drive slower

The minister said a range of advice for households is to be prepared by the SEAI.

TRANSPORT MINISTER EAMON Ryan has said that one “practical example” of how people can keep their fuel costs down is to drive slower. 

Ryan was speaking as the government announced a cut in the excise duty on petrol and diesel

He said these measures “will have an immediate effect” but that the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) will be providing advice for consumers on reducing energy use. 

Ryan said that “everyone has to be part of the solution” to reducing energy consumption, including data centres around the county, but that there are practical steps for people too. 

“Everyone knows that the speed of cars affects efficiency and if you go above a certain speed, the cost increases dramatically,” he said. 

It’s one practical example where people can actually make what’s in the tank go further, examples like that. And the same in the home, Sustainable Energy Ireland will be outlining those in an information campaign in the coming days. 

Ryan’s comments are backed up by AA Ireland, which points out that a vehicle travelling at 120 km/h uses about 20% more fuel than the same vehicle at 100 km/r. 

The minister said that the prospect of fuel rationing was “low” but that the government must “keep looking at all possible future measures”. 

He also claimed that competition between petrol forecourts keeps prices from spiralling: 

There is still competition out there and there will be the ability to look between different forcourts and to different prices and that’s part of what will help keep prices down, but this measure will have an immediate effect.

He added: “We cannot fully cover the huge cost of energy that’s there because of international factors. Because at a certain point that then that would eat into what we have to pay our teachers, our guards or other measures. So we’re doing what we can, we will do to the max and we’ll keep looking at further measures that will help.”

SEAI

SEAI already provides tips for people about how to reduce energy consumption with Ryan saying that smart metering should allow for varied pricing on and off peak.

“We have smart metering, it’s going into about 700,000 houses and we’re rapidly expanding that out,” he said.

So that will give the householder the ability at times when the electricity prices are cheap, when the wind is strong later in the evening, rather than at peak times, to be able to power up the car or the heat pump or their dryer or whole range of different services.

On data centres, which have been found to be have a ‘disproportionate’ influence on Ireland’s energy demands, Ryan said they have to be part of the solution. 

“There’s no one who gets an out, no one gets special treatment,” he said. 

“What does that mean for data centres? It would mean that we would start to locate them in areas of the grid where we can manage it, where it’s not putting pressure on the existing grid. And if it means they could provide back up gas-fired capabilities, it would be part of a more stable system.”

Asked today whether the decision on excise duty would alleviate pressure from the government to reduce or remove the carbon tax, Irish MEP Ciarán Cuffe said:

“I think it’s become more visible that these price rises are not the carbon tax.”

“The carbon tax is a very small percentage of the price rises that we’ve seen,” the MEP said.

“I think this will concentrate the mind – people looking around them at the car they drive, the home they live in, how much insulation is there in the attic, maybe it’s time to replace that old boiler.

“It’s time to simply move faster on the path to decarbonise.”

With reporting by Lauren Boland from the EU Parliament in Strasbourg 

 

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