Consumers could have problems when driving on summer vacation. The director of the International Energy Agency fears a fuel shortage in the holiday season. The reason for this are European sanctions against Russia and tightened export policies in other countries around the world. The energy expert advises the speed limit instead.

While the EU countries have decided on a partial embargo against Russian oil imports and the tank discount will take effect on Wednesday, many consumers remain concerned about high fuel prices. Europe is struggling with “an oil crisis, a gas crisis and an electricity crisis at the same time,” warns Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, in an interview with “Spiegel”.

The consultant sees major challenges for consumers: In the main summer holiday season, he fears fuel shortages at gas stations in the US and Europe. “Then there could be bottlenecks: for example with diesel, petrol or kerosene, especially in Europe,” predicts the 64-year-old.

Our problem: Europe is mainly dependent on oil imports. With lower imports from Russia due to the oil embargo, more partnerships are needed in the world. “And some export countries like China are now imposing their first export bans; they want to protect their own consumers,” said the IEA director.

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An agreement with Iran in the nuclear deal could also lead to oil supplies to the West, and countries in the Middle East could also increase their production quotas. But that would be “a surprise” that one cannot rely on, according to Birol. After all, the countries in the Middle East are making good money from the high oil prices.

One of Birol’s suggestions for escaping this dilemma is the speed limit on German autobahns, “at least for the duration of the war”. This could at least partially reduce fuel consumption. In a survey published by the “” portal last Tuesday, just under every fourth German rejects such a speed limit – albeit with different ideas about the height of the limit.

After the oil crisis in 1974, the major consumer countries in the West came together in the International Energy Agency to deal with the consequences together. Even then, the states were fighting against the decline in economic output and high inflation. The 31 members include Germany, France and the USA. The organization advises states in the event of a crisis and coordinates the release of strategic oil reserves.