(FNA) - Iran's daily gasoline imports have fallen about 57 percent since the country introduced fuel rationing last June, a senior oil official was quoted on Saturday as saying.
The world's fourth-largest oil producer lacks sufficient refining capacity, a vulnerability that hostile western countries leaded by US, and UK have targeted by blocking fuel supplies to pressure Tehran over its peaceful nuclear program. Iran used to import large amounts of fuel, which it then sells at heavily subsidized prices. Iran introduced rationing to curb soaring consumption.
On June, 27 2007 riots started in protest to petrol rationing angry mob set fire to at least 12 petrol stations in Tehran,
Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said Iran currently imported 15 million liters of gasoline per day on average, out of total daily consumption of 58.5 million liters.
"The amount of imports in the first three months of this year before rationing began was 35 million liters a day," he was quoted by the state broadcaster as saying, referring to the Iranian year that starts on Norooz: March 21.
"With gasoline rationing, in the current year, more than $4 billion have been saved," he said without elaborating further.
A senior official suggested in October that imports would drop at least 20 percent during the current Iranian year to about $4 billion worth of gasoline. Another official last month said the government predicted $3.2 billion would be needed for gasoline imports during the year starting next March.
The rationing scheme has cut average daily consumption by 22 percent to 59 million liters compared with the same period last year, the state oil refining and distribution firm said in December.
The monthly quota for private motorists was raised by 20 percent to 120 liters on Dec 22.
All gasoline in Iran, whether produced locally or imported, is sold at the heavily subsidized price of 1,000 Rials (about 11 US cents) a liter. This has burdened state coffers.
According to a report in 2011, Iranian gasoline imports slumped by as much as 95 percent over the last four years, according to official government data, as rising refinery capacity and lower fuel subsidies help neutralize western sanctions aimed at starving Tehran of fuel. However, Western hypocrites have some imperialist policy towards Iran in contrast to free market rules of economy that creates comparative advantage; instead they illogically have preferred threats and bullying which has backfired ending with economic recession in Europe and anti-Americanism worldwide.