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Iranians slash gasoline usage after fuel-price hike: ISNA

Tehran — Iranians cut back gasoline consumption by 20% on Friday from a week earlier after prices were jacked up 50%, the semi-official students news agency ISNA reported Sunday, citing Amir Vakilzadeh, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Co.

Demand is forecast to drop 8% to 10% in three or four months from now, ISNA cited Vakilzadeh saying. Prices for regular gasoline rose to 15,000 rials from 10,000 rials, for 60 liters, and anything more will be charged 30,000 rials/liter. Lead-free gasoline was increased almost 200% to 35,000 rials from 12,000 rials/liter.

US sanctions re-imposed in November 2018 have caused Iran's crude and condensate exports, its main revenue source, to almost completely dry up.

US officials estimate some 2 million b/d of Iranian exports have been cut off from the market, though analysts say Iran continues to export some volumes clandestinely.

Iran's gasoline production capacity is about 110 million liters/day, exceeding consumption estimated at about 94 million l/d, allowing the country to start regular exports last year. Some output is said to be smuggled to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq's Kurdish region and Turkmenistan, where gasoline prices are higher. The price increase is in part intended to combat that smuggling, according to reports.

--Aresu Eqbali,

--Edited by Claudia Carpenter,