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Iranian Truckers in Silent Strike Following Twenty-fold Hike in Gasoline Prices

By Ardalan Sayami, Rooz Online

Since the official price of diesel oil in Iran was increased twenty-fold by the government news outlets report a drastic decrease in diesel consumption. But according to general Mohammad Royanian, the head of Iran's Transportation and Fuel Management Office, it is business as usual and cargo is being transported from the southern port of Bandar Abbas to all over the country. In his announcement yesterday, he also presented various statistics that only added to the existing ambiguities, including this statement that a total of 500 billion tons of cargo are being transported by a fleet of one thousand trucks.

While announcing the new gas rationing quotas for the month of January (priced at 400 Tomans a liter) yesterday, Royanian replied to a question on the status of the nation-wide diesel fleet in charge of country's transportation needs as follows: "About 70 percent of these trucks have already received subsidized diesel fuel at the price of 16.5 Tomans per liter and the rest which have not yet been able to get their diesel rations will be able to do so by tonight."

A gas station in Tehran after the fee increases went into effect

According to Iran's ISNA student news agency, the official announced that more than 99 percent of commercial drivers in the public transportation sector in Iran were operating without any fee increase. "The ticket fees for Vahed public bus lines (that cover the public bus routes in Tehran) as well as private taxi tariffs are not increased. Neither are the inter-city bus or cargo service fees," he elaborated.

On the other hand, ISNA just published a contrasting report that, "The head of gas station syndicates has indicated a 73 percent decrease in diesel consumption from 137.7 billion liters on Saturday down to 36.8 billion liter on Sunday." This indicates that a large number of Iranian truckers had stopped work on Sunday due to the hike in the price of diesel oil. Also according to a transportation analyst, this new level of diesel consumption accounts only for the fuel consumed by government and military transportation needs.

Meanwhile, an official with the transportation center of the province of Isfahan had told IRNA reporters, "Since the implementation of the new diesel oil price, the transportation tariffs for trucks will be increased by 15 percent." Nevertheless, according to the same official, some truckers found out about the new prices only when they were fueling their trucks and thereby some were short of money to pay the difference.

Since 2007 and 2008 the Iranian ground transportation fleet has been affected by the sanctions imposed by Europe, leaving the Chinese manufacturers in charge of renovating and replacing the older trucks. Many drivers and even government officials however have expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of China's transportation industry

... Payvand News - 12/24/10 ... --

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