Tehran, July 11, IRNA-The government is expected to import four billion dollars worth of gasoline by March 2006, said a senior official at the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company.
The English-language paper `Iran Daily' on Monday quoted Nasser Sajjadi, who heads the company's planning department, as saying that gasoline prices usually go up as oil prices surge.
"The 1.5 billion dollar budget earmarked for importing gasoline was depleted in four months," he said, adding that the government has asked the Parliament (Majlis) to give the go-ahead for spending another 2.2 billion dollars for the purpose.
He expressed unawareness about the mechanism of meeting these funds, stressing that while each liter of the imported gasoline costs some 4,500 rials, petrol is sold at 800 rials per liter.
Noting that gasoline consumption is constantly on the rise in Iran, the official said that consumption will average 66-67 million liters a day by next March.
Sajjadi said domestic refineries supply some 40 million liters of gasoline per day and that the rest has to be imported.
He further noted that one way to reduce the high gasoline consumption is to develop the public transport system and cut administrative bureaucracies to prevent unnecessary intra-city trips.
He said gasoline consumption has grown by 50 percent in the past 10 years.
Some experts say huge fuel subsidies have to be eliminated to discourage high demand for petrol across the country.
They believe that Majlis decision to keep fuel prices unchanged for the current fiscal year is a blow to efforts to reduce gasoline consumption.
Another reason for the very high petrol consumption in Iran is that most of the country's vehicles are dilapidated and consume high amounts of fuel, which has also worsened air pollution in metropolitan areas.
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