Govt. rapidly removing gasoline rationing problems

July 26, 2007 - 0:0

TEHRAN (PIN) – Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad here Wednesday said the government was busy with solving problems facing gasoline rationing immediately.

He told reporters that the cabinet and MPs discussed energy and different aspects of gasoline rationing in Tuesday’s session. “The cabinet and Majlis (parliament) hold a joint session every season in an attempt to solve people’s problems and to render better services to the general public,” said the president. The two sides exchanged views on energy, organization of energy consumption, and public transport, said Ahmadinejad, adding transportation and fuel were of great importance as huge money was invested in two sectors. “All countries outline special plans on fuel and transport management, including the automaking and methods of fuel transportation,” he added. The president expressed his gratitude to people for adapting themselves to the rationing system, vowing that the saving of commodity would help implement huge projects in four corners of the country. Ahmadinejad predicted that 700 kilometers of modern railroad would be built every year in the first three years of rationing law and 1,200 kilometers every year in the next three years. “The gasoline saving also gives the government the opportunity to construct advanced refineries and gas grids and to allocate a sum for the social security of uninsured and unemployed people until they find jobs,” he said. Ahmadinejad stated that promoting gas consumption as automobile fuel will enable Iran to export gasoline next year. The president said a small sum would go for the development of electronic government. Official in charge of government’s special plans announced that more than 4 billion dollars would be saved by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2008). Ali-Akbar Mehrabian told MPs, “According to figures, during 21 days after the beginning of fuel rationing, daily gasoline consumption has been registered at 58 million liters, down by 18 million liters per day compared to the corresponding period of the preceding year.” He added that gasoline consumption grew by an average rate of 10 percent per year. “Therefore, during the past 21 days, a total of 400 million liters of gasoline has been saved,” he added. The official added that 500,000 cars operating on dual-fuel system would be produced during the current year while only 280,000 dual-fuel cars were produced last year. Mehrabian said those cars whose fuel consumption was higher than 6 liters per 100 km would not receive license plate. He pointed to a 30 percent reduction in motor traffic as well as higher speed of public transport as other advantages of gasoline rationing. “Statistics show that car accidents have decreased by 30 percent and Tehran’s air is less polluted than before,” he said. Mehrabian added that gasoline smuggling from border areas had been totally stopped. On July 24, Majlis deputies voted positive for single urgency of a plan offered to supply non-rationed gasoline. During open session, the plan was approved by 120 yeas against 97 nays and 13 abstentions. The urgency was also approved by 128 yeas against 86 nays and 12 abstentions. Anzali MP had told reporters that Majlis deputies for the supply of non-rationed gasoline had prepared a single urgency plan. Hadi Haqshenas noted that the plan stipulated that as long as the market had not been regulated the government was obliged to supply the difference between domestic gasoline consumption and imported fuel through appropriate means. “The government does not have to import gasoline directly, but can allow the private sector to do the job,” he said. The MP stated that many occupations that are related to tourism have been jeopardized due to gasoline rationing. “The more important point is that supply of non-rationed gasoline aims at rationalizing subsidies and rationing should be directed at that goal in the long run,” he noted. According to the plan, the government will have to supply non-rationed gasoline at reasonable price for public use. Government has already announced that it has no plan to introduce two prices for gasoline and MPs have also emphasized on negative effects of a two-tier gasoline price system. Government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham told reporters that gasoline rationing had been very beneficial for economic resources of the country, adding, “The government is formulating a plan for developing such infrastructures as public transportation and railroad and to help uplift people’s living standards.” He stated that the government was planning to use the economic resources saved as a result of gasoline rationing for development of infrastructures. “People are now seeing the good effects of gasoline rationing and the current problems will be solved through development of infrastructures,” he said. Elham noted that saving on fuel and other national resources will optimize use of economic resources of the country and the government enforced rationing through powers delegated to it by the Majlis. The government spokesman called on mass media to inform people about gasoline rationing and help build a suitable culture in this regard. On June 27, Iran, one of the world’s largest oil producers, started rationing petrol nationwide and the Petroleum Ministry has allocated each private car 100 liters per month at 0.108 dollars per liter for normal and 0.151 dollars for super petrol. The quota for governmental cars has been put at 300 liters per month and for taxis at 800.