Saudi Arabias prince al-Waleed Bin Talal, who holds no political role but has an influence on the ruling family, says the country's ban on female driving is costing billions of dollars on the struggling economy.
"Stop the debate: Time for women to drive," said a tweet on his official Twitter account in English and Arabic.
He then followed on from his tweet with an official statement by his office on Wednesday.
He said the "economic costs" of women being forced to use drivers and taxis because of a weak public transport system is not helping the frailing economy.
"Public transport is not, at least at present, a fully viable means for them, for even Saudi men do not as a whole use it," he stressed.
"Preventing a woman from driving a car is today an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity," he said.
The Saudi prince claimed that the driving ban means that families spend an average of $1,000 a month on drivers.
"Having women drive has become an urgent social demand predicated upon current economic circumstances," he said.
Women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia because of a fatwa declared by a Wahhabi cleric, and remains the only country where women cannot drive.
"They are all unjust acts by a traditional society, far more restrictive than what is lawfully allowed by the precepts of religion," he added.