TEHRAN, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A massive increase in fuel prices in Iran pushed daily consumption rates for gasoline down 13 percent in three weeks, the country's oil ministry declared.
Iranian drivers are paying 22 times more for a gallon of gas than they were under a government subsidy program. The Iranian Central Bank said the country was spending as much as $100 billion per year in subsidies.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Dec. 19 that the country was set for an "economic revolution" and was therefore cutting the 30-year-old subsidy program under a five-year program.
The Oil Ministry's Petroenergy Information Network announced that gasoline consumption last week was around 14.6 million gallons per day compared with 16.8 million gallons per day before the Dec. 19 announcement.
Iranians braced for unrest after government cuts to gasoline subsidies raised fuel prices. Riot police were deployed to protect gas stations following an economic plan meant to ease the strain from economic sanctions.
Truck drivers under the new price mechanism announced in December could buy gasoline at $0.06 per gallon only once more before the price goes up to $1.32 per gallon.