Various sanctions have been imposed on Iran, including a European Union oil embargo, and this has prompted Iran to reduce its reliance on foreign oil. One way in which it is doing this is through heavy investment in natural gas-fueled cars. It just so happens that has the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves.
Iran i also one of the largest oil exporters in the world; however, sanctions over its nuclear program have impeded energy-related developments. Iran’s investment in natural gas cars in the past decade was so significant that the number of dual-fuel cars increased from 1,500 in 2006 to 2.95 million, 7 years later. That’s an incredible jump, and an indicator of how America could make the same switch.
There are benefits to switching to natural gas, such as reduced tailpipe emissions, as well as a lower fuel cost. However, natural gas has to be stored in expensive high-pressure tanks, and natural gas-powered cars cost more than hybrid-electric cars up front. But natural gas-powered cars are less-efficient than gas-burning equivalents, as natural gas has less stored energy. But less energy is still better than no energy, and Iran has built hundreds of CNG stations, as well as supporting a domestic car industry devoted to building viable natural gas vehicles.
However, the U.S. and European sanctions reduced the Iranian government’s revenue by 45% over the last nine months due to reduced exports caused by sanctions. Meanwhile, inflation is soaring, going up 25% in the past week alone, leading to street protests and plenty of finger pointing. Not even natural gas vehicles can abide by high prices for basic staples like bread and meat.
Good can come from a bad situation, though. Iran, like Brazil is going to get its cars off oil, as the rest of the world is trying to do, at a very slow pace, with little success.
Source: Autoblog | Image: Associated Press