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Iran’s daily gasoline consumption down by %15.9

Iran’s daily consumption of gasoline has dropped by almost a sixth more than a month after the government announced its controversial fuel price hikes.

A senior Oil Ministry official said on Monday that the total gasoline pumped into the cars across the country had decreased to 75.5 million liters a day on average in the month ending December 21, 2019.

Amir Vakilzadeh said the figure shows a reduction of 15.9 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

The official, who serves as the CEO of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC), said daily gasoline consumption could have reached nearly 100 million liters a day in the beginning of the next Iranian calendar year in March if price hikes had not been implemented in November.

Vakilzadeh said consumption had grown by 6.1 percent year-on-year before the fuel price hikes were announced on November 15 to reach an average of 94.4 million liters a day.

Iranian motorists were taken by surprise last month when they came to know of the government’s decision to increase the price of gasoline by three times while a cap of 60 liters a month was also set for half-price, rationed gasoline.

The government stood by the hikes despite protests and riots that erupted across the country.

Officials said the hikes were necessary to contain rampant smuggling of the fuel across the borders and a growing demand which could force the country to resume imports at a time the oil industry in under heavy American sanctions.

The Oil Ministry has said that lower domestic consumption of gasoline can allow exports of the fuel to neighboring countries while it would help diversify the fuel basket inside Iran through supplying more compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the motorists.