Iran General NewsIran's petrol guzzling to be cut back further: president

Iran’s petrol guzzling to be cut back further: president

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AFP: Iran’s president Saturday defended a rationing scheme to cut back on petrol guzzling in the world’s fourth largest oil producer, saying even tighter controls are on the way. TEHRAN, June 30, 2007 (AFP) – Iran’s president Saturday defended a rationing scheme to cut back on petrol guzzling in the world’s fourth largest oil producer, saying even tighter controls are on the way.

“In recent days, petrol consumption has dropped from 80 million litres (17.5 million gallons) per day to 70 million and (it) must go down to less than 60 million litres per day,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, as cited by the official news agency IRNA.

Ahmadinejad’s government on Tuesday night suddenly announced petrol rationing throughout Iran, saying private cars using petrol would be limited to 100 litres of petrol a month and those using both petrol and liquefied gas would only be allowed 30 litres.

The rationing would continue for four months and might be extended to six months, it said.

The announcement triggered nationwide protests, with angry demonstrators torching petrol stations and yelling slogans against Ahmadinejad and his government.

IRNA quoted the president as saying that his government was now planning to alter vehicles so that they can operate on gas as well as petrol.

“If we apply this scheme to taxis, trucks and public transport, we will save between 24 and 26 million litres per day,” he said.

Ahmadinejad added that the government also had plans to build new refineries, which would make it possible for Iran to export petrol within three years.

A lack of refining capacity means that despite Iran being OPEC’s number two oil exporter, it can only produce 44.5 million litres of petrol a day — way below daily consumption.

Iran, which had to spend five billion dollars importing petrol in the last financial year ended March, estimates that without rationing, fuel imports could reach 9.5 billion dollars a year.

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