Iran raises motorists' New Year fuel ration-report
Iran will grant private motorists an additional 100 litres of gasoline for the Iranian New Year holidays, which start on March 19, nine months after the country introduced fuel rationing, media reported on Sunday.
The world's fourth-largest oil producer lacks refining capacity and must therefore import large amounts of fuel, which it then sells at heavily subsidised prices. It launched rationing last June to curb soaring consumption.
The state oil refining and distribution firm said in December that the scheme, which provoked anger among Iranians when it was introduced, had cut average daily consumption by 22 per cent to 59 million litres compared with a year earlier.
The monthly quota for private motorists was raised by 20 per cent to 120 litres in December, and Iranian media said on Sunday the government would allocate an extra one-off amount of 100 litres for the New Year, when many Iranians travel.
"For the welfare of the citizens ... 100 litres of gasoline for the New Year holidays will be added to the quotas of private motorists," the government was quoted as saying in a statement.
All gasoline in Iran, whether produced locally or imported, is sold at the heavily subsidised price of 1,000 rials (about 11 US cents) a litre. This has burdened state coffers.
Importing gasoline is also a sensitive issue when Iran is facing Western pressure over its disputed nuclear programme.
A senior Iranian oil official said this month the country's daily gasoline imports had fallen by 57 percent since June. (Reuters)
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