|MADRID - The Spanish cabinet approved energy-saving measures on Friday, aimed at curbing sharp increases in electricity consumption and cutting oil imports at at a time of record fuel prices.|
The legislation targets energy savings equivalent to 12 million tonnes of oil from 2005 and slashing carbon dioxide emissions by 32.5 million tonnes.
Spain belches out around 40 percent more heat-trapping carbon dioxide than allowed under the emission limits set by the United Nations Kyoto protocol on global warming.
"Our country is ... excessively dependent on energy," Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Friday. "Demand is growing faster than our economy, contrary to a Europe-wide trend."
The measures, such as penalising energy waste, will cost nearly 8 billion euros ($9.5 billion) to implement over a range of activities from industry to transport.
But the government estimates the initial outlay will pay off and the plan will reap savings by 2012 of two euros for every euro spent.
US crude oil prices have surged to record highs above $60 a barrel, boosted by strong demand and concerns over global production and refining capacity.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE