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Iran's gasoline imports reach highest level ever

Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for International Affairs Hojatollah Qanimifard said in Tehran on Wednesday that gasoline imports reached its peak in the first four months of the current Iranian year (started March 21), IRNA reported.

He told IRNA that the average daily gasoline imports exceeded 3.5 million liters in the first four months of the year, "which was 52.5 percent higher than in the same period last year."

Qanimifard said the cost of gasoline imports topped dlrs 316 million in the same period, "which is again 55 percent higher than the same period last year."

He said concurrent with the higher gasoline volume of 52.5 percent the total imports expenditure also rose by 55 percent due to higher prices of gasoline in international markets.

The gasoline consumption in the US has been going up because of the summer holidays. Hence given the shortage in the US gasoline and crude oil inventory in the past few weeks compared to the same period in 2002, gasoline prices have been under pressures.

He said each to of gasoline was 30 higher in the US on July 20 which put pressure on not only in the American oil derivatives market "but, also Europe's."

He said that some of the product is exported for Europe to the USA. The Persian Gulf region has also witnessed higher prices in gasoline increasing the cost of its imports.

Many officials at various times have voiced concern on the unfettered consumption of gasoline in the country.

Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Aqaei here Monday warned that if the present trend of gasoline consumption continues, the country will have difficulty in meeting its needs.

Speaking at a conference on energy consumption, Aqaei said the amount of gasoline consumed is 10-20 million liters above the amount envisaged in the Third Five-Year Development Plan (2000-2005).

"Gasoline consumption should not have exceeded 45 million liters during the plan, whereas now the figure runs close to about 55 million liters to 65 million liters," he pointed out.

"We only have the capacity to produce about 40 million liters of gasoline and the rest is imported."

The current consumption trend poses problems in supplying the needs, the official added.

He said the consumption of gasoline is estimated to reach 100 million liters in the fourth five-year development plan.

There have not been effective plan to deal with the unmitigated gasoline use including removing dilapidated cars plying the roads or manufacturing fuel-efficient automobiles.

No other country has such high gasoline consumption and these figures are detrimental to the country, Aqaei underlined.

"Despite the significant investment in infrastructure facilities we cannot meet the demand for gasoline."

Gasoline is sold for rls 650 a liter (8 cents), while actual price for the commodity is between about rls 1,800 and rls 2,000.

He said low prices have for too long affected the consumption pattern, leading to waste of the precious resource.

... Payvand News - 7/24/03 ... --

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