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EghtesadOnline: So long as gasoline is not rationed, the plan to use bank debit cards as fuel cards is pointless and will not be implemented for now, the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company announced in a new directive.

According to NIOPDC, the plan to reactivate the fuel cards is basically to curb fuel smuggling and has nothing to do with rationing, so replacing fuel cards with debit cards is out of question, ISNA reported late Wednesday. 

The Central Bank of Iran had announced earlier that the bank debit cards could be used as fuel cards, and last week NIOPDC recommended car and motorcycle owners to use their fuel cards at least once by July 22 to make sure there was no problem with their card, according to Financial Tribune.

"In its new decree, the state-owned company has urged car owners and motorcyclists who have lost their fuel cards or have no cards, to refer to +10 police offices or to apply for a card," NIOPDC said.

The company said as of August 11, car owners will be able to buy fuel at the pumps only with the fuel card.

According to NIOPDC, using gas station owners' special cards instead of car owners' cards will not be allowed from the day the new rule comes into effect.

Illegal trade in fuel in and across the border regions, going on for decades, is reported to be around 20 million liters per day worth $1.3 million.

Data from the Anti-Smuggling Organization show that compared to last year fuel smuggling has risen by 50% in the porous border regions, namely to Pakistan and Afghanistan where fuel sells for much higher prices and as a result trafficking temptation is high.

Fuel rationing system and obliging motorists to use fuel cards at pumps was introduced in 2007 to curb overconsumption and worked perfectly. In a 6-month period consumption fell by 25 million liters, he said.


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