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Iran says domestic demand for gasoline rose by 14% in H1 fiscal year

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran reports a 14% surge in demand for gasoline in the first half of the year that started in March.

A report shows that demand for gasoline increased considerably in Iran in the six months to late September despite restrictions imposed on movement over the period to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The Thursday report by the official IRNA news agency said that gasoline use inside Iran had been around 85 million liters per day on average in the first half of calendar year that ended September 22.

The figure was a 14% increase compared to March-September 2020 when average gasoline consumption in Iran was about 75 million liter per day, said the report.

Iranian government authorities are concerned that a fresh surge in demand for gasoline could affect surplus supplies that are normally earmarked for exports.

Experts believe that rising demand could even force Iran to resume imports of gasoline after nearly a decade of self-sufficiency in supplying the fuel to the motorists in the country.

Iran introduced a series of controversial fuel price hikes in November 2019 mainly to control the rising demand and prevent smuggling of cheap fuel into the neighboring countries.

The measure caused gasoline consumption to drop from record highs of over 110 million liters per day to just over 50 million liters per day for a short period in late 2019.

It also caused many motorists to switch to alternative fuels like compressed natural gas (CNG) which is abundant in Iran and even cheaper than the heavily subsidized gasoline.

Gasoline demand had hit record lows of around 40 million liters per day in April 2020 when Iran introduced its first lockdown to curb the coronavirus.

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