Subsidized Gasoline Runs Its Course

Subsidized Gasoline Runs Its CourseSubsidized Gasoline Runs Its Course

Electronic fuel card users have until the end of Saturday to use the remainder of their subsidized gasoline, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and distribution Company said.

"Subsidized gasoline quotas will be removed by the end of November 21," Seyyed Naser Sajjadi said, stressing that the deadline to buy subsidized gasoline will not be extended, Mehr News Agency reported.

The government of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad started issuing fuel cards in 2007, allocating a gasoline quota at subsidized prices to private vehicles and motorbikes as part of plans to curb consumption and cut heavy energy subsidies.

In late May, the government announced it would no longer allocate subsidized gasoline, among other types of fuel, to passenger vehicles at a rate of 70,000 rials per liter and said regular gasoline would be offered at a single rate of 10,000 rials (around 30 cents) without a quota for car owners nationwide.

The government set a September 22 deadline to use the remainder of quotas and later extended the deadline by two more months.

Sajjadi also ruled out speculations that the government may raise gasoline prices or extend the deadline for burning the remaining quotas. According to the latest data, more than 300 million liters of subsidized gasoline had been unused by Friday.

There are around 16 million active fuel cards nationwide, including 11.9 million for cars and 3.9 million for motorbikes, in addition to 837,000 fuel cards issued for diesel-fueled vehicles.

However, the government has also pledged to maintain fuel cards despite liberalizing fuel prices and scrapping the quota allocation program as a means of granting incentives.