LONDON — Work from home, lower your speed on highways and take the train instead of a plane if you want to save energy and beat Russian President Vladimir Putin, the European Commission advised citizens, as part of recommendations to reduce reliance on Russian oil.

The range of “simple steps” outlined in the “Playing My Part” plan on Thursday could save a typical household on average almost 500 euros ($540) a year and 220 million barrels of oil a year for all of the European Union, according to the commission and Paris-based International Energy Agency.

The actions are “designed to help Ukraine by cutting the EU’s reliance on Russian fuel, and also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the bodies said in a joint statement.

“Faced with the horrendous scenes of human suffering that we’ve seen following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, people in Europe want to take action,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Using less energy is a concrete way to help the Ukrainian people — and to help ourselves.”

As the Ukraine war nears the two-month mark, Birol said the actions of European citizens could “reduce the flow of money to Russia’s military and help put us on a path to a cleaner and more sustainable planet.”

More about Russia’s war on Ukraine


Most European households are facing higher energy bills amid an energy crisis exacerbated by the war, the statement said. It suggested that using less energy could support Ukraine and cut crucial revenue streams aiding Russia’s invasion.

It asks consumers to take steps such as turning down heating, using less air conditioning, working from home when possible to avoid commuting, and carpooling or traveling by public transport. It also urges employers to encourage home working and governments to provide financial incentives such as reducing train fares and supporting home insulation initiatives. Home working became a familiar habit across Europe during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The climate-friendly plan marks the latest attempt by Western leaders to thwart Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to imposing economic sanctions, European leaders are increasingly promoting energy efficiency to counteract oil-rich Russia. Italy, which is highly dependent on Russian gas, said Wednesday that it will impose temperature limits for the air conditioning and heating in public buildings.

In March, President Joe Biden announced a ban on all imports of oil and natural gas from Russia. The United Kingdom also said it would phase out all Russian oil products by the end of the year. However, E.U. officials unveiled a separate plan to cut Russian gas imports by approximately two-thirds this year.

The E.U. has long been heavily dependent on Russian energy. It planned to quit — eventually — as part of a broader shift away from fossil fuels but the Russian invasion of Ukraine changed that timeline, with the 27-member bloc pledging to halt Russian fuel by 2027. About 40% of E.U. gas comes from Russia, as well as more than a quarter of its oil.

Last month the United States and the European Commission announced a joint task force to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has also made multiple calls on nations to stop buying Russian oil, lambasting them for “earning their money in other people’s blood.” However, the E.U. still sends $450 million a day to Russia for oil and $400 million per day for natural gas, The Associated Press reported, citing calculations by analysts at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels, showing the fossil fuel dependence is hard to kick.