14 May 2007 - 02:17
  • News Code: 104560
MPO Scotches Rumors on Gasoline Rationing Finalization

TEHRAN – Iran’s Management and Planning Organization quashed rumors on the commencement of gasoline rationing as of May 22.

The organization added the rationing of petrol would start only when the government officially announced.

Head of Energy Committee of Majlis (parliament) also said the government would not announce the exact date of rationing in a bid to prevent people from storing up gasoline.

Kamal Daneshyar told reporters the cabinet could not put the rationing plan into practice from May 22, adding the government might ask the Presiding Board of Majlis for more time through submitting a bill to the lawmakers.

The Energy Committee has mounted an overt opposition to the state plan to ration gasoline, arguing that “it would entail negative consequences”.

“The plan, aimed at reducing the lavish subsidies that keep petrol prices low, should be put off as the technology to enforce the rationing is not ready,” Daneshyar added.

“Based on the studies of our committee the ground is not ready to implement the rationing using smart cards, so we have to give another chance to the government,” said the official.

“We have received reports that the devices for reading the smart cards break down quickly and some pumps end up working backwards. This means that instead of pumping petrol they suck up the petrol from the vehicles.

“Therefore, until these problems are addressed, the rationing project has to be postponed until around end of September.”

“Under current conditions, it is not possible to enforce the law and the government surely needs three-month time more to put the plan into action,” Seyed Emad Hosseini, a committee member, told PIN.

“According to the report of security authorities and officials the Ministry of Petroleum, necessary arrangements have not yet been made and if the law takes effect as of May 22, people will face great problems,” he added.

The lawmaker criticized the government for failing to define the gasoline quota and price of extra petrol by April 21.

Hassan Moradi, also an Energy Committee member, said 160 MPs officially urged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government to make decision on gasoline quota of cars and the price of extra petrol by May 21.

Representing the central city of Arak, the parliamentarian called the gasoline rationing an important issue, expressing hope the people would get enough information before the plan took effect.

The notification came at a time that the country is still grappling with mixed views on the project.

The lavish consumption by Iranian drivers, encouraged by the subsidized prices that work out less than a comparable amount of mineral water, forces OPEC’s No. 2 producer to import billions of dollars of extra petrol annually.




News Code 104560

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