June 27, 2007


Fuel Rationing Introduced in Oil Giant: Despite being one of the world's largest oil producers, Iran has introduced gasoline rationing. The move caused long lines at the pumps -- and rioting. (Der Spiegel, 6/27/07)

According to Raja News, a Web site closely linked to the government, nine stations were attacked in the Iranian capital. There were also reports of chants lampooning President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who came to office promising an economic upturn but has so far been unable to live up to the pledge.

There were long lines at the pumps on Tuesday night as people tried to get one last full tank of gas before the new measures kicked in. The rationing, which the government had been planning for weeks and which was originally supposed to go into effect on May 21, was only announced three hours before taking effect at midnight local time.

"Is this good timing, to announce rationing only three hours before it starts?" Ahmad Safai, one of those waiting in line, told the Associated Press. "I had no gas in my car's tank when I heard the report."

Iran is the second biggest oil exporter in OPEC, but has limited refining capacity, meaning that it has to import more than half of the gasoline consumed in the country. Until now, the government has subsidized gasoline to keep prices down, but the program has proven exorbitantly expensive in a period when the Iranian economy is struggling. The new rules mean that car owners can only buy 100 liters (26 gallons) of subsidized fuel per month -- at a cost of 1,000 rials per liter, which works out to 7 euro cents per liter or 38 US cents per gallon. Taxi drivers will be able to buy 800 liters a month.

The rationing comes amid growing dissatisfaction with Ahmadinejad's handling of the economy. Inflation is high and rising gas prices will likely only spark further price increases. A reduction in gasoline subsidies in May led to a 25 percent jump in gas prices.

...even the 12th Imam will be a capitalist.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 27, 2007 12:13 PM

Isn't it the 13th Imam they're waiting for?

Posted by: erp at June 27, 2007 12:20 PM


Yes and no; the idea is that the 12th will return.

Posted by: Mike Earl at June 27, 2007 1:52 PM

Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by: erp at June 27, 2007 4:23 PM

So if the Eskimos converted to the Religion of Peace they'd be running out of ice.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 27, 2007 7:47 PM

What better time to start putting sand in the gears of their refineries? And to start hijacking their tanker trucks? And to start forcing them to scramble aircraft every night?

Squeeze faster, please.

Posted by: ratbert at June 27, 2007 9:55 PM