MADRID, July 29 (Reuters) - Spain’s government aims to have 1 million electric cars on the roads by 2014 as part of a plan to cut energy consumption and dependence on expensive imports, Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian said on Tuesday.
“Electric vehicles are the future and the driver of the industrial revolution,” Sebastian said in testimony to a congressional panel.
Sebastian recently unveiled government plans to cut energy use by 10 percent over two years in a bid to save 5 billion euros ($7.87 billion) annually as oil prices soar and Spain suffers a severe economic slowdown.
The plan will cost 245 million euros and contains 31 measures, including a target to cut driving speeds by 20 percent.
“Every time we ease off the accelerator, we boost national income and employment,” Sebastian said. “We are facing the third world oil shock.”
Spain’s government has been trying to cut oil imports. Sebastian said the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels had cost the country 17 billion eurois over the past 12 months.
Spain produces neglgible amounts of oil and gas and imported 57.5 million tonnes (421 million barrels) of oil last year, according to the government’s strategic oil reserves body CORES.
Earlier this year, distribution company Enagas (ENAG.MC) forecast that Spanish consumption would rise by 10.1 percent to 449,580 gigawatt-hours (about 43 billion cubic metres) in 2008. (Reporting by Manuel Maria Ruiz; Writing by Martin Roberts; Editing by David Gregorio)