It’s bad enough that diesel fuel is costing you $1.89 more per gallon today than this time last year, according to AAA. Now, there are concerns that diesel supplies are running extremely low.
“In certain pockets of the country, there’s a real and growing concern about the availability of diesel,” says Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. He says several different factors are leading to a shortage of diesel fuel.
“The war in Ukraine has certainly contributed to that,” according to Steenhoek. “The fact that we haven’t had additional refining capacity that’s been built. Yet, when you’ve got a demand for diesel that has remained quite robust throughout the pandemic and to this day, you get into this supply, demand kind of tightening, and so that’s certainly part of it as well. The inland waterway system transports, in addition to grain and things like fertilizer and aggregates, but also transports a lot of energy products, including petroleum products, so that’s certainly contributing to it as well.”
He says diesel shortages are having an impact on farm operations and this year’s harvest.
“For farmers, there are certain pockets, I’m hearing, where supplies are more limited or scarce,” says Steenhoek. “I had a couple of farmers tell me that the availability is day-to-day, but then, in other areas of the country, they’ve been able to get their supplies. But I think, overall, this is something that is going to be an emerging concern in this country.”
Steenhoek says the diesel fuel shortages couldn’t come at a worst time – considering the drought along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers that is already slowing down grain exports.
“I’m hearing some concerns from farmers who are located close to the inland waterway system, and some of the supplies do occur via barges, so that’s another industry that’s impacted by the challenges confronting our inland waterway system. In those areas that are further removed from the river and more in the Midwest and the northwestern part of the Midwest, I’m hearing fewer concerns about getting diesel supply. I think it depends on which part of the country you’re in. I do think that this is a trend that we’re going to be hearing more of.”
Recently, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the U.S. only has 25 days’ worth of diesel fuel in storage.
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report and audio from Mike Steenhoek with the Soy Transportation Coalition about diesel fuel supplies running short across rural America.