A representative of fuel distributors in Iran has warned the government that 70 percent of gas stations might soon shut down due to lack of sales.
Assadollah Qolizadeh, who is president of fuel distributors’ association told ILNA news website March 28, “Sale of Super gasoline [high octane] has reached zero and sale of diesel has decreased by up to 70 percent.”
He also said that operating cost of gas stations has increased by 30 percent due to additional expenses resulting from the coronavirus epidemic; including health safety measure, masks and protective gear.
The decrease in sales began with a 30 percent rise in fuel prices last November, when the government suddenly decided to reduce gasoline subsidies. This led to days of widespread protests and unrest in the country, during which security forces killed up to 1,500 people.
With the coronavirus epidemic sales dropped by up to 70 percent, as Mr. Qolizadeh has told ILNA.
Gas stations in Iran always belonged to the government but three years ago a program of privatization was launched, and an undetermined number of fuel stations were sold to private investors. There are 6,800 gas stations in Iran.
Despite Qolizadeh’s warning, a day earlier the government company in charge of distributing oil products denied any plans to close gas stations, reiterating that all distribution centers will remain open 24 hours.