Iraqis voiced their anger on social media after a surprise 27 March government decision to hike fuel prices from 1 April as part of measures which had the claimed aim of reducing traffic. The price of ‘premium’ gasoline (95 RON) was raised by more than 30% from ID650/l ($0.50/l) to ID850/l ($0.65/l) while ‘super’ gasoline (98 RON) increased by 25% from ID1,000/l ($0.77/l) to ID1,250/l ($0.96/l). Prices of low-octane ‘regular’ gasoline were kept unchanged at ID450/l ($0.35/l).

Despite the increase, gasoline prices remain heavily subsidized relative to neighboring countries, meaning volumes are imported at a loss. Whilst completion of the 140,000 b/d Karbala refinery has allowed Iraq to stop importing middle distillates this year, gasoline imports are expected to average 44,000 b/d, which would be a considerable fall from last year’s 79,000 b/d (MEES, 16 February). (CONTINUED - 135 WORDS)