Reuters: Iran plans to nearly halve the amount of gasoline that motorists can buy at a heavily subsidised price, state television reported on Thursday, in what could be a politically controversial proposal. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran plans to nearly halve the amount of gasoline that motorists can buy at a heavily subsidised price, state television reported on Thursday, in what could be a politically controversial proposal.
It quoted Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi as saying that under the plan, to be considered by parliament next week, the rationed amount of subsidised gasoline available to motorists will be reduced to 55 liters per month from 100 liters now.
The proposal comes as the United States and its European allies explore ways of targeting fuel imports into Iran if it continues to press on with its nuclear program.
Iran, the world's fifth-largest crude oil exporter, lacks refining capacity to meet its domestic fuel needs and has to import up to 40 percent of its gasoline requirements, which it then sells at subsidised prices.
If approved by parliament, the government would only be allowed to sell four million liters of domestically-produced gasoline per day under the rationing scheme, in which motorists can buy subsidised fuel if they have electronic "smart" cards.
"Based on this plan every fuel card will receive only 55 liters of gasoline (compared with 100 liters now)," Mirkazemi said.
Under a scheme introduced in 2007, which sparked protests in Tehran, motorists can buy the rationed fuel for 1,000 rials per liter (around 10 U.S. cents). Any amount above that costs about four times more.
Before then, they were able to buy unlimited amounts of heavily subsidised gasoline, encouraging consumption and burdening state coffers.
(Reporting by Hashem Kalantari; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by William Hardy)