Money printing, oil subsidizing Iran, increases petrol ration

TEHRAN, Dec 22, 2007 (AFP) – Iran on Saturday started to allow motorists an extra 20 litres (5.2 gallons) of petrol a month under a rationing scheme aimed at cutting back on frenzied consumption, state television said. Many consumers in Tehran are obtaining additional petrol on the black market, paying three to five times the subsidised price.

“Private cars have a monthly quota of 120 litres (31.2 gallons) for the next four months,” the television said.

It added that the average daily consumption was about 59 million litres during six months of rationing, showing a 22 percent fall in comparison with the same period in the previous year.

Iran, OPEC’s number two oil producer, in late June finally introduced a long-awaited plan to ration petrol to decrease the colossal state subsidies paid for keeping pump prices low.

The announcement triggered angry protests, with demonstrators torching petrol stations and yelling slogans against the government, but they rapidly petered out.

Petrol in Iran is now charged at 1,000 rials (0.10 dollars) — still less than a comparable amount of mineral water.