TEHRAN, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Even though there are more vehicles on the road in Iran, gasoline consumption is down compared with the previous year, an Iranian distribution official said.
The United States and European Union hit Iran with unilateral sanctions targeting the country's energy sector. Iran in response said it was switching its petrochemical plants to gasoline production to cope with the strains.
Farid Ameri, the head of Iran's national oil distribution company, said gasoline consumption was down nearly 900,000 gallons per day when compared with the previous year, the Oil Ministry's Petroenergy Information Network reports.
This, he said, comes despite a rise in the number of vehicles on Iranian roads.
Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mir Kazemi said Iran has produced 264 million gallons of gasoline, which he said took Iran's adversaries "by surprise."
Energy analysts said that while Iran was able to stave off a short-term crisis with the petrochemical conversation in the long term that production is expensive.
Nevertheless, the oil minister said Iran was on the verge of a "new era" in its energy sector.