EU tells citizens to drive slowly and turn down boilers to save energy

The EU is trying to get their citizens to reduce their energy usage to put pressure on Russia. (Getty)
The EU is trying to get their citizens to reduce their energy usage to put pressure on Russia. (Getty)

The EU has told its citizens to drive slowly, work from home, and turn down their air conditioning and boilers in an attempt to save energy as the bloc attempts to wean itself off its reliance on Russian gas.

Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine has led to calls for the EU – which imported roughly 40% of its gas from Russia in 2020 – to boycott supplies from Moscow.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said anyone still buying Russian gas is sending "blood money" to Putin.

Russia has raised the prospect of turning off the taps in retaliation to painful sanctions which have been imposed since he sent troops into Ukraine.

Fears over energy supplies have sent gas prices soaring, with costs remained at consistently high levels since the war began in February.

Watch: Ukraine war: Putin playing chicken with the West over gas sales - and the stakes are high for both sides

Read more: The three European countries who rely on Russia for all their gas

The EU has now moved to encourage its citizens to reduce their energy output.

On Thursday, the European Commission released new advice in collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA), saying if all citizens followed the advice they could save enough natural gas to heat almost 20 million homes.

The nine-point plan suggests EU citizens:

  1. Turn down heating and air conditioning

  2. Ensure your boilers are efficient

  3. Work from home where you can

  4. Use your car economically

  5. Reduce your speed on motorways

  6. Try and avoid driving on Sunday

  7. Don't drive when you can walk or cycle

  8. Use public transport

  9. Use trains for short journeys rather than planes

The European Commission said the advice was "designed to help Ukraine by cutting the EU’s reliance on Russian fuel, and also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions".

IEA director-general Juul Jørgensen: "Energy efficiency has the potential to be the most important policy initiative for reducing our dependence on Russian imports and responding to the current energy market challenges, both through short term energy savings, and longer-term energy efficiency measures."

According to the plan’s findings, turning down the thermostat by just 1ºC would save around 7% of the energy used for heating, while setting an air conditioner 1ºC warmer could reduce the amount of electricity used by up to 10%.

Read more: Revealed: The areas of the UK welcoming the most Ukrainian refugees


A number of EU nations have committed to stop buying Russian gas within a decade.

In 2021 around half of Russia's national income came from the sale of gas and oil.

EU members, Finland, Latvia and Bulgaria all get more than 75% of their gas from Russia.