The Estonian Stockpiling Agency, the agency responsible for the operating stockpiles of the state, conducted a survey for the second consecutive year to determine the attitudes of the people of Estonia towards different suggestions for saving petrol and diesel fuel. Over the year, the support of the people for the potential saving measures has generally increased, with the development of cost-efficient public transport and bicycle paths, practising a sustainable driving style, and partly working from home preferred most. Applying restrictions on driving motor vehicles in the city centre remains the most unacceptable suggestion.
In a survey with a representative sample conducted by Turu-Uuringute AS in May, 1,000 people over the age of 15 who live in Estonia were asked to assess their support to the ten universal suggestions for saving fuel drawn up by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The majority, or 92% of the respondents, support the development of cheap public transport systems and opportunities for walking and cycling, followed by the support of 87% to practising a sustainable driving style. The support of the Estonian people for the opportunity to work from home on some days as a measure for saving fuel gained above the average support, 82%.
The people agreed the least with a more extensive motor vehicle ban being imposed in the city centre to save fuel (30% in the favour and 55% against) and with the lowering of the speed limit by at least 10 km/h on motorways (38% in the favour and 51% against). With these two suggestions, the opposition was stronger than the support.
By age groups, young people aged 15–24 support almost all the suggestions for saving fuel significantly more than others. The survey also revealed that men are more opposed than women to the lowering of the speed limit on motorways, to the motor vehicle restriction in the city centre, and to reducing the frequency of riding a car alone.
According to Ando Leppiman, chairman of the management board of the Estonian Stockpiling Agency, a statistically significant increase in the support can be seen in the case of seven of the ten suggestions compared to the similar survey last year.
‘We did not examine the causes, but it may be presumed that the period of high fuel prices as well as the growing resonance of the themes of green transition have made the people think more about sustainability. In a wider perspective, the fuel consumption of the people is more affected by the general economic situation and the high inflation, the increase in the interest rates, and the increase in other expenditure are also reflected in the attitudes towards saving fuel,’ explained Leppiman.
Depending on the year, 740–750 thousand litres of petrol and 2.5–2.6 million litres of diesel fuel is consumed in Estonia per day. Of all people in Estonia over the age of 15, 63% of the people have bought engine fuels within the past two months. Men, middle aged people, Estonians, and the people living in rural areas buy fuel more frequently than the average respondent.
The state agency the Estonian Stockpiling Agency stores 90-day stocks of petrol, diesel fuel, and jet fuel as the operating stockpile. The strategical stockpiles owned by the state are only used in case of serious delivery difficulties and it helps the society to cope in a crisis situation. Saving fuel becomes especially important in case of delivery difficulties and determines how long the stockpiled engine fuel will last.