EghtesadOnline: Boosting the share of compressed natural gas in the country's fuel mix can have multiple advantages, especially cutting gasoline demand and helping export the fuel, the head of Iran's CNG Association said.
"Of the five million vehicles on the country's roads, over 3.3 million are equipped with hybrid CNG engines … This is while the share of CNG in fuel consumption barely reaches 20% and the rest goes to gasoline," Ardeshir Dadras was also quoted as saying by Iran Gas Show news portal.
Iranians burn an average of 90 million liters of gasoline daily, of which some 10 million liters are imported, but CNG consumption rate hovers around 20 million liters per day.
According to Dadras, becoming a gasoline exporter is not merely bound to increasing output and investing in costly projects, but it could also be achieved by adopting economically feasible approaches such as increasing the share of cleaner energies, Financial Tribune reported.
"The low-carbon and clean-burning fuel can help save billions of dollars by curtailing gasoline imports and making the country an exporter of the fuel," he said.
"Our CNG stations are currently working at half capacity. Making full use of such facilities and expanding the infrastructures could help us easily double the amount."
Dadras called for building at least 1,000 more CNG stations to promote consumption.
Officials put the number of active CNG stations nationwide at around 2,700.
"We can bring about the [consumption] figure of 50 million liters per day, which would reduce gasoline demand, save money and export gasoline.
Iran is sitting on the world's largest hydrocarbon resources and its CNG industry can be highly beneficial to the economy," he said.
The country produces 850 million cubic meters of gas per day, which is planned to reach 1.2 billion by 2021.
According to the official, CNG is projected to comprise up to 35% of Iran's total fuel consumption by the end of the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2017-22).
CNG is natural gas under pressure, which remains clear, odorless and non-corrosive.
Dadras criticized the way CNG stations are being managed and said the present system yields little profit to station owners.
He noted that currently the price discrepancy between gasoline and CNG is 58%, whereas logically, the CNG price should not be more than 20% of gasoline price.
"So, cutting the price of compressed natural gas for consumers is imperative to reduce gasoline consumption," he concluded.
Currentlym Iranian drivers are charged 10,000 rials (22 cents) for each liter of gasoline while each liter of CNG is priced at 4,200 rials (9 cents).
CNG is also a greener fuel, as its emissions are less than those caused by regular fuel.
Carbon monoxide emissions are reduced by 70-85% and hydrocarbons by 40-60%.