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Oil demand unsustainable say Greens

The ongoing increase in oil use leaves New Zealand at the mercy of fossil fuel producers and is contributing to our shocking record on carbon dioxide emissions, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Ms Fitzsimons was commenting on the latest edition of the Ministry of Energy's biannual Energy Data File, which showed that the consumption of oil products is growing at 3.5 per cent per year.

Ms Fitzsimons said that New Zealand's current demand for oil was unsustainable.

"Nearly half of the energy used in New Zealand comes from oil, most of which we import from overseas. Oil is the largest contributor to climate-changing greenhouse emissions, and we should be investing in cleaner fuels instead of increasing our use of diesel at 7 per cent a year."

Ms Fitzsimons said the rise in oil dependence also left New Zealand vulnerable to overseas rises in the price of oil.

"Nine petrol price rises in the past eight months have shown every person who drives a petrol car in New Zealand that they are at the mercy of oil producers when it's time to fill the tank. Shell have forecasted that in the next 5-10 years, the demand for oil will start outstripping the supply, leading to continuous upward pressure on oil prices. It is naïve to think that New Zealand can avoid the inevitable price hikes of the future."

Ms Fitzsimons said CNG and LPG fuels offered a cheaper and cleaner alternative to petrol, but their use had been allowed to decline dramatically under the previous government. She welcomed the Minster of Energy's statement in Parliament today that work is proceeding on government purchase of CNG and LPG vehicles, and looked forward to supporting this initiative.

"But far more is needed. New Zealand needs an energy strategy designed to adapt to the rising price of fossil fuels, before they destroy both our economy and our environment."

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 470 6661 or 025 586 068 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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