Iranian Automaker Pushes Dual-Fuel Cars
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 10, 2007; 5:27 PM
TEHRAN, Iran -- Fuel rationing has forced Iran's largest car maker to
scale down the manufacture of gasoline powered engines and increase
production of dual-fuel cars that can also run on natural gas, the
company's manager said Tuesday.
In an attempt to reduce Iran's multibillion dollar gasoline import
bill, the government suddenly imposed fuel rationing last month,
sparking riots and outcry among consumers used to subsidies.
Iran Khodro, one of the largest car manufacturers in the Middle East,
opened its doors to international media on Tuesday to show off its
industrial achievements and its ability to produce the dual-fuel cars,
which can consume both gasoline and compressed natural gas.
Iran's state-owned car makers had anticipated fuel rationing and begun
to adapt their production, said Manouchehr Manteghi, to company's
"Of 2,200 cars we produce every day, 1,300 are dual-fuel cars,"
Manteghi told reporters. "In less than a month, it will reach 1,500
Iran is one of the world's biggest oil producers, but lacks enough
refineries and must import more than 50 percent of the gasoline its
After a 25 percent price increase imposed May 21, gas sells at the
equivalent of 38 cents a gallon. The rationing system allows private
drivers 26 gallons of fuel per month at the subsidized price. Taxis
get 211 gallons a month.
Accustomed to years of low-cost gas, inexpensive cars and unreliable
public transport, Iranians heavily rely on their car for
transportation. Massive traffic jams are common in the capital,
Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made clear on Monday
that drivers who use up their fuel rations would not be allowed to buy
more gasoline at higher prices, calling suggestions to do so a "killer
poison" that would worsen inflation.
"We won't give in to liberalization of the gas price," he was quoted as saying.
Rationing is designed to cut the $10 billion that the government
spends each year to subsidize gasoline prices, and the president said
the reduction will free up money for economic development projects
that will make Iran "invincible."
Iran Khodro, which produces 600,000 cars each year, says it has also
designed a natural gas-based engine that is expected to reach mass
production in October. This development will greatly help Iran reduce,
and even stop in the long run, importing gasoline from abroad, it
The gas price increase in May and the rationing last month are feeding
discontent with Ahmadinejad, who was elected in 2005 on a platform of
helping the poor and bringing oil revenues to every family.
Ahmadinejad said reduced reliance on imported gasoline would make the
country less vulnerable to international pressure, at a time when Iran
is at odds with the West over its nuclear program.
Iranian experts had warned that Iran's oil spending could exceed its
oil revenues within the next 10 years if fuel consumption was not
contained. Iran's government currently earns 80 percent of its income
from crude oil exports.
The government says fuel consumption has decreased since the rationing
began last month. Officials also say pollution in Tehran is also down
_ the result of less traffic.
Volume 38, Issue 2, August 2001, Pages 179-189
Natural gas, cars and the environment. A (relatively) 'clean' and
cheap fuel looking for users
Stefano Di Pascoli, Aldo Femia and Tommaso Luzzati
Stefano Di Pascoli,
Dipartimento di 'Ingegneria dell'Informazione: Elettronica,
Informatica, Telecomunicazioni', Universitā di Pisa, via Diotisalvi 2,
56126 Pisa, Italy
Istat, via Ravā 150, 00142 Rome, Italy
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Universitā di Pisa, via Ridolfi
10, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Received 20 July 2000; revised 6 December 2000; accepted 27 February 2001.
Available online 9 August 2001.
This paper deals with the spread of natural gas as a fuel for motor
vehicles. Working on the basis of an input-oriented (and life cycle)
approach to environmental issues, it is easy to show that natural gas
is often relatively clean in comparison to all the other alternatives.
Although natural gas is both cheap and very well suited to motoring
uses, natural gas vehicles (NGVs) have not achieved widespread
diffusion. This is particularly puzzling in Italy, as the relative
price after taxes (in caloric equivalents) of natural gas is about 0.3
against gasoline and 0.4 against diesel fuel. The sample survey
conducted confirms not only the practical drawbacks of NGVs mainly
the lack of an adequate refueling network but also a profound lack
of information and knowledge about NGVs characteristics. The overall
indication for future policy is that economic incentives alone may not
be sufficient. An environmental policy aimed at promoting 'more
sustainable' individual choices (NGVs, in this case) must both
consider the institutional framework, and promote the initial spread
of appropriate understanding and awareness able to prime the
endogenous adoption of 'greener' behaviors.
Author Keywords: Natural gas vehicles; Environmental degradation;
Material flows; Knowledge
Corresponding Author Contact Information Corresponding author. Tel.:
+39-50-945377; fax: +39-50-598040; email: [log in to unmask]