Official figures announced March 27 show that consumption of gasoline during Iranian New Year holidays did not show any increase compared to last year’s holiday travel.
Official government news outlet IRNA reported that in the first ten days of the holiday season Iranians consumed an average of 97 million liters of gasoline per day (25.6 million gallons).
Last year, the average was around 98 million liters, which was 15.1 percent higher than March 2017. But this year consumption remained flat.
There is also a high level of gasoline smuggling due to neighboring countries in recent months due to extremely low prices in Iran. The price for one liter is 8 cents in Iran, while prices in some other countries in the region reach to more than one dollar per liter.
Nationwide bad weather and floods could be a factor in limiting holiday travel, but also the country’s economic crisis and soaring prices could have curbed consumers’ ability or willingness to spend money for tourism. Travel on Nowruz (Norooz) or New Year to visit family members or sightseeing is a strong tradition for Iranians.
U.S. sanctions have been a strong factor in pushing the Iranian currency lower in the last 12 months, which has led to very high inflation. Numerous reports before the holidays spoke of high food prices, leaving ordinary Iranians unable to afford traditional shopping for celebrations.