No Change in Iran Fuel Rationing

A01177493.jpgIran will not change its fuel rationing scheme and has no plans to offer extra gasoline outside quotas at a higher price, acting oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari has said. Nozari also said he could not say if he would be nominated as the new oil minister by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who appointed him a caretaker in place of Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh on Sunday.

Ahmadinejad has appointed two new ministers for industries and mines, and oil ministries.

Nozari, head of the National Iranian Oil Company, has replaced Hamaneh while Ali Akbar Mehrabianh has become acting minister of industry after the resignation of Ali Reza Tahmasebi.

“The decision depends on President Ahmadinejad,” Nozari said. The president must nominate ministers for approval by parliament.

Iran, No. 2 OPEC oil producer, started fuel rationing in June.

“Gasoline rationing will continue as announced previously and there will not be any changes in decisions,” Nozari said.

Private drivers now receive 100 liters of fuel a month at the heavily subsidized price of 1,000 rials (11 cents).

Most government officials have objected to offering extra fuel at higher prices, saying it would push inflation even higher than the current 16 percent.

One official appeared to hint last week extra fuel sales might be considered but later said he had been misquoted.

“The government has no decision to offer free market price gasoline,” Nozari said.

Rationing was introduced as consumption was outstripping Iran’s ability to make gasoline, leaving the crude exporter with a big fuel import bill.

Analysts have said they do not expect the change to herald a shift in Iran’s policy on OPEC issues.

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