Travel demand policies for saving oil during a supply emergency

Robert B. Noland, William A. Cowart, Lewis M. Fulton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


An area of growing concern is the future stability of oil producing regions and the ability to maintain stability in international petroleum markets. The transport sector, in particular, is extremely vulnerable to short-term supply disruptions with consequent implications on economic activities in most countries. This paper analyses potential transport demand restraint strategies that could potentially mitigate the impact of short-term supply disruptions. Our analysis includes estimates of the potential fuel savings from several policies. Specifically, we examine various work-based policies (telecommuting, flexible work schedules), the potential of carpooling, speed limit reductions, driving bans and restrictions, increased public transport usage, and providing information on the effect of maintaining optimal tire pressures. The analysis uses various assumptions based on existing knowledge about how travelers may respond under emergency conditions to develop estimates of potential fuel savings. Results suggest that the most restrictive policies, such as driving bans and mandatory carpooling are the most effective. Other policies provide small reductions with some, such as telecommuting and flexible work schedules, having the potential to be easily implemented. Those policies, focussed on encouraging public transport use, are less effective and potentially more costly to implement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2994-3005
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number17
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • Emergency planning
  • Oil supply disruptions
  • Transport demand management

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