No Plan to Scrap Fuel Cards

No Plan to Scrap Fuel CardsNo Plan to Scrap Fuel Cards

The government has no plans to scrap fuel cards, which have attracted the attention of Venezuela, Iraq and Syria, CEO of the National Iranian Oil Production and Distribution Company said.

"To liberalize gasoline prices, there was no way but to introduce the fuel cards," Mansour Riahi was quoted as saying by IRNA.

"Fuel cards have helped to gradually close the gap between the real and subsidized prices of gasoline over the past eight years. Currently offered at 1,000 rials (30 cents) per liter, gasoline is still a subsidized commodity."

In late May, the government announced it would no longer allocate subsidized gasoline, among other types of fuel, to passenger vehicles for 70,000 rials per liter and regular gasoline would be offered at a single price of 10,000 rials for car owners nationwide without any quota.

"The government could offer price- and non-price incentives to encourage the use of fuel cards," Riahi said without elaborating further. Officials of the previous government say fuel cards were introduced to keep track of dilapidated gas-guzzlers and manage gasoline consumption nationwide.

However, Bijan Haj-Mohammad Reza, the head of Iran Gas Station Owners Union, on Tuesday slammed as "time-consuming" the use of fuel cards in gas stations.

"It may take as long as half an hour, instead of merely a few minutes to fill up a car" with fuel cards, he said.

The official had earlier said the government has no choice but to "roll back the system" to what it was in 2007.