The UK could dramatically reduce its dependence on imported oil with a series of transport policies based on available technology, according to a new report.
A study commissioned by Greenpeace said that, left unchecked, the UK's consumption of oil - which will have to be imported increasingly from the Middle East - would see an eightfold increase by 2030. Imports would jump from seven million tonnes last year to 56.3 million tonnes in 2030.
The report, by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, said intervention could limit imports to 14.3 million tonnes in 2030, a "mere doubling".
Total UK demand for oil would rise from 92 million tonnes last year to 109.3 million tonnes in 2030, under "business as usual". But intervention could cut 2030 demand to 67.3 million tonnes.
Malcolm Fergusson, one of the authors of the report, said: "We are basing this on quantifiable scenarios. It would involve significant effort but it would help our balance of payments, energy security and CO2 emissions."
The range of measures championed by the report are focused on road travel, as viable technology solutions to reduce oil consumption for air transport and shipping have not been well developed.
The report calls for all new cars to be hybrids by 2030. It advocates upping the level of biofuel in the fuel mix from today's tiny proportion to between 30 and 50 per cent.
The analysis also requires demand to be tackled at source by altering consumer behaviour. This could, for instance, involve reducing speed limits on roads. It said that if a 90 km/h limit was enforced on major roads in the 15 older European Union countries, some $10bn in fuels costs could be saved - or half a million barrels of oil per day.
If this range of measures were implemented across the 15 pre-2005 EU member states, 280 million tonnes could be saved in annual oil consumption by 2030.
Separately, a survey of 200 large UK businesses conducted by vehicle management group LeasePlan found that almost a third of companies believe that "being perceived as a green company doesn't matter". Over half of businesses admitted they were not doing everything they could to be environmentally friendly. The reasons for inaction were put down to apathy among management and workers.