Press TV - Iran's government reportedly plans to ask the Parliament for $7 billion to import gasoline and diesel, despite a fuel rationing program.
The budget required for the increasingly expensive fuel imports might increase during the current Iranian year that ends in March 2009 if global gasoline prices continue to rise, warned Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).
"If (fuel) prices continue to rise the budget necessary for importing will surpass $7 billion. It will be around $9 billion," Ghanimifard told Persian daily Tehran Emrooz in an interview published on Monday.
"The $3.5 billion of credit allocated according to the Budget Law for the current fiscal year will have been spent by the end of Mordad (the Iranian month that ends on Aug. 21); we will then require more money," said NIOC managing director Seifollah Jashnsaz on Sunday.
This is while Ghanimifard predicts that the credit for the current Iranian year (started on March 21) will end in Tir (the Iranian month that ends on July 21).
As Iran lacks the adequate refining capacity to produce gasoline, it has implemented a gasoline rationing program to cut excessive fuel consumption and ease the burden on state coffers.
Under the current rationing program, fuel is sold with government subsidies priced at 1,000 rials (about 11 US cents) a liter. Since March, drivers can purchase more gasoline than their set quota (120 liter a month for private cars) for 4,000 rials per liter.
Among the latest changes in the rationing program announced on June 7 is a measure that requires owners of luxury vehicles to purchase premium gasoline at market prices as of June 21, instead of heavily subsidized regular unleaded fuel.
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