EghtesadOnline: Gasoline sale in Iran during the Nowrouz (Persian New Year) holiday season fell significantly compared to the closing days of the last fiscal year (ended March 19), according to the National Iranian Oil Product Distribution Company.
The reason for the decline is the coronavirus, which forced most families to cancel their travel plans during the two-week annual holiday as the infectious disease gripped the world, IRNA reported.
Since mid-February, when it was officially announced that the virus had hit the country, people were advised by the Health Ministry to stay at home to help fight the deadly disease, according to Financial Tribune.
Gasoline consumption that was at 75 million liters per day in February dropped to 65 million liters/day in the first half of March. Daily consumption is now below 50 million liters, less than half five months ago.
Decline in fuel consumption had started even before the spread of the virus, when gasoline was rationed in Iran. Following the government’s decision to raise prices at the pumps in November 2019 (when consumption was 110 million liters/ day), fuel sales declined in December, reaching 95 million liters/d and 85 million liters/d in January of this year.
The declining trend in gasoline consumption from November 2019 until now is shown in the table:
Tehran Sales Halved
According to NIOPDC, Tehran had the largest decline in fuel sales among the total 31 provinces. Gasoline consumption in the capital halved dropping below 10 million liters per day, indicating a steep decline compared to the first half of March, when consumption was near 20 million liters a day.
As the deadly virus forced many people to self-quarantine, other provinces also reported 30% decline in gasoline sales.
More than a million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide and the death toll has surpassed 53,000 while about 211,000 patients recovered, Aljazeera reported.
The US - the world's hardest-hit country – has reported more than 6,000 coronavirus deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. It has confirmed more than 245,000 cases of the disease.
COVID-19, first emerged in central China three months ago. Now nearly a quarter of cases have been registered in the US, while Europe accounts for around half with Italy, Spain, Germany, France, England, Switzerland and Turkey among the top 10 having the highest number of confirmed cases.
In Iran, the coronavirus outbreak started in Qom. Health officials in Tehran up until Friday afternoon confirmed 53,000 cases of infection with the novel virus, with 3,300 deaths.