Gasoline Demand Rises Despite Surge in Coronavirus Fatalities to Record Highs
EghtesadOnline: Demand for gasoline soared by 40% in the first four months of the current fiscal year (March 2021-22) compared with the corresponding period of last year and this is while deaths caused by the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is approaching 500 per day, the head of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company said.
“Daily gasoline consumption in the 133-day period has reached 80 million liters, but the figure was barely 50 ml/d last year,” Keramat Veiskarami was also quoted as saying by ISNA.
Giving a breakdown, he noted that daily consumption in March-April was about 85 million liters, up 38 million liters compared to 2019 in the same period. Daily demand in June-July surpassed 90 million liters, showing a rise of 30% compared to 2019.
According to the official, NIOPDC produces 110 million liters of gasoline per day, of which 52% are produced by the Persian Gulf Star Refinery and the rest by Shazand Refinery in Arak, Markazi Province, Tabriz Refinery in East Azarbaijan Province and Bandar Abbas Refinery in Hormozgan Province.
“Consumption is expected to rise further as high-risk workplaces, including gymnasiums, beauty parlors, barbershops and low-risk businesses are open and most people are busy taking summer trips and doing their usual businesses regardless of the pandemic,” he added.
The Health Ministry on Saturday registered 480 new deaths and 25,800 positive cases, taking the national toll to 94,000 and infections to around 4 million.
Referring to the shortage of premium gasoline, marketed as “super”, Veiskarami added that due to low demand (around 2 million liters a day), producing premium gasoline is not a priority for NIOPDC, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company.
NIOPDC produces limited amounts of premium gasoline (which has an octane level of 91 as opposed to regular fuel with the octane number of 87) as “few station owners order because it must be sold at unsubsidized prices [14 cents per liter]”, he said.
Each liter of regular gasoline costs 7 cents and most motorists prefer to buy cheaper fuel and so filling stations are not interested in purchasing it.
Veiskarami said evaporation losses of premium gasoline are high and it is not economically feasible to keep it in storage tanks for long periods.