EghtesadOnline: The number of out-of-service fuel nozzles which cannot be repaired is increasing, head of Gasoline Station Owners' Association (GSOA) said.
“Many filling stations are facing serious problems as they do not have spare parts to repair the old fuel nozzles,” that have outlived their usefulness, Homayoun Salehi was quoted as saying by ILNA.
Most of the nozzles have been working for a very long time and have been fixed many times but stop functioning after a few hours of repairs, he added.
“Close to 1,000 old nozzles, for example, in southern provinces like Khuzestan are in need of parts that are not available in the domestic market.”
The situation is the same in other regions as many pumps are either nearing obsolescence or have gone out of use since 2019 because the much-needed parts cannot be imported due to the US sanctions, the GSOA said.
Most gas pump spare parts were imported from the US and Germany and could be easily found at reasonable prices. Nonetheless, “Now they can only be found at prohibitive prices and with difficulty”.
Referring to exorbitant costs (if the part can be found in the market), he noted that a pump plunger was 40 million rials ($160) last year, but the same thing is $1,300 now.
What Iran is suffering from is not lack of engineers who can design and produce nozzle parts, the problem is that the country does not have access to advanced knowhow about how to combine different elements and metals to produce superior alloys with anti-corrosion properties.
Salehi went on to say that electronic fuel card system has been in use for more than 12 years but the system's hardware has not been updated, an issue that can expose the card system to cyber-attacks.
“There are about 4,000 filling stations across the country and upgrading all the nozzles demands a huge investment,” he added.
In related news, the news agency quoted Mohammad Atapour, a member of GSOA, as saying that gasoline consumption plummeted in the eighth month (July 21-August 21) of the Iranian calendar year by 30% compared to the corresponding period last year.
“Fuel consumption crossed 110 million liters per day in 2019 between July-August when most families travel during the summer holiday. Fuel sold during the same period this year was 75 ml/d.”
According to Atapour, the coronavirus pandemic has hit the gasoline sales sector as is the case with other businesses. Most people use their cars occasionally and approach the pumps to full up much less than last year.
“Gasoline sales never surpassed 75 ml/d in the last eight months. This is while the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company had predicted that in 2020 consumption would exceed 120 ml/d,” he recalled.
Iranians used 73 million liters of gasoline per day in 2015, which rose by 8% to reach 80 million liter/d in 2016.
Consumption soared in 2017 when sales reached 88 million liters/d and NIORDC data show that in 2018 and 2019 it exceeded 95 ml/d and 110 ml/d, respectively.
In Iran, the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in Qom. Health officials confirm 407,000 cases of the deadly infection with close to 24,000 deaths until Saturday.