AFP: The world’s fourth biggest oil producer Iran has successfully reduced petrol consumption after implementing a rationing scheme over angry protests, press reports said on Monday. TEHRAN, July 2, 2007 (AFP) – The world’s fourth biggest oil producer Iran has successfully reduced petrol consumption after implementing a rationing scheme over angry protests, press reports said on Monday.
“Petrol consumption has been down by six million litres per day and now stands at 72 million litres everyday,” the hardline Kayhan daily said, quoting oil ministry figures.
It said consumption had hit a record low of 53.2 million litres on Saturday.
Press reports said that traffic has been moving more smoothly as there are about 20 percent fewer vehicles on the usually congested streets of Tehran.
On Tuesday night, the government suddenly announced the introduction of petrol rationing throughout Iran, limiting most private cars to a monthly quota of 100 litres.
The rationing is to continue for four months and might be extended to six months.
The announcement triggered nationwide protests, with angry demonstrators torching petrol stations and yelling slogans against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government.
As a result of limited refining capacity, Iran has to resort to imports to meet 40 percent of demand for petrol.
Ahmadinejad hopes to reduce petrol consumption to a maximum of 60 million litres a day and to have more vehicles switch to liquefied gas so that Iran is less dependent on imported petrol.
Iran spent five billion dollars on petrol imports in the last financial year to March and estimates that fuel imports could reach 9.5 billion dollars a year without rationing.
Iran is also faced with massive smuggling of its cheap 10-cent-a-litre petrol to neighbouring countries where it costs as much as two dollars.