No Plan to Scrap Smart Fuel Cards

No Plan to Scrap Smart Fuel CardsNo Plan to Scrap Smart Fuel Cards

Iran’s Oil Ministry has taken no new decision to scrap smart fuel cards, the oil minister announced.

“Although I agree with stopping the distribution of gasoline via electronic fuel cards, no decision to scrap them has until now been taken and the cards will be in use for now,” Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

Zanganeh also said that any change in gasoline distribution will be officially proclaimed.

In late May, the government announced it would no longer allocate subsidized gasoline, among other types of fuel, to passenger vehicles at a price of 7,000 rials (20 cents) and regular gasoline would be offered at a single price of 10,000 rials (around 29 cents) for car owners nationwide without quota.

Zanganeh believes that maintaining the present system only inflicts maintenance costs on the country, according to the Persian daily Hamshahri.

Opponents, however, say the scrapping of fuel cards is a big mistake, as it damages distribution transparency. They propose using them to impose higher taxes on fuel-intensive subscribers or to decrease gasoline quota for dilapidated cars.

A majority of Iranian energy officials support halting the use of electronic fuel cards.

Seyyed Nasser Sajjadi, managing director of National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, said last month that distribution of gasoline with fuel cards was started eight years ago with the aim of achieving three main goals: curbing consumption, adjusting prices and cutting down on fuel smuggling.

“Within the past eight years, all goals of the plan have been materialized,” he noted. “Under the current circumstances where fuel prices are unified and there is no gasoline subsidy, subscribers are not inclined to use fuel cards and many people reportedly use station owners’ instead.”

Sajjadi also announced that as diesel price is not on par with its actual value and it is still being smuggled, usage of diesel fuel cards will remain unchanged.

Bijan Haj-Mohammadreza, the head of Iran Gas Station Owners Union, has also slammed as “time-consuming” the use of fuel cards in gas stations, stressing that filling up cars at gas stations would become more efficient once the cards are deactivated.

The former government started issuing smart fuel cards in 2007.