Car-less days may be revived in New Zealand
At the same time, Transport Ministry officials are doing initial work on a possible age limit on Japanese imports to cut pollution and reduce fuel consumption.
An oil supply crisis hit in 1979 following political instability in the Middle East, and, combined with soaring crude prices, resulted in car-less days in New Zealand.
The report floats various options for dealing with a supply crisis.
Initial voluntary measures, such as cutting discretionary trips, combined with mandatory speed limit reductions, could provide consumption savings of 7 per cent.
Compulsory restrictions on car use - such as the return to car-less days - could provide another 4 per cent to 5 per cent. Rationing would be a "last resort".
Other measures assessed in the report include working from home, a compressed or flexible working week, checking tyre pressure and car-pooling.
The report is designed to help the ministry write an oil emergency response manual. It suggests the ministry design a rationing scheme that could rapidly come into force, assess legislation relating to speed limits and car-pooling and work with other parties on implementing measures.
A spokeswoman for Energy Minister Trevor Mallard said he was not commenting because no recommendations had been put to him.
Automobile Association public affairs director George Fairbairn said that although New Zealand was facing rising oil prices, there was no current supply crisis.
The report was written because as an International Energy Agency member, New Zealand required an emergency response manual.
He said the report was only talking about responses in cases of an extreme shock such as a war.
Car-less days were an extreme measure, but rationing was even more extreme and the situation would have to be severe to get the public buy-in needed.
National Party transport spokesman Maurice Williamson said he doubted New Zealand would ever go back to car-less days.
"I would have thought price may actually be the more restricting factor. I would imagine some people might start changing their behaviour as price goes up."
He did not rate the current rising oil and petrol prices a crisis.
Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said petrol would be self-rationed as oil prices rose because it would get to the point where people could not afford it.
The Greens will next week release their plans to prepare for the end of cheap oil.
A ministry spokeswoman said that the likelihood of an oil supply crisis was low but the impact would be high so it was prudent to manage those risks.
"In the event of an oil crisis, the level of Government intervention would be commensurate with the scale of disruption. Voluntary measures would be introduced as a first response. Compulsory measures such as rationing and car-less days are only likely to be considered as last resort."