Diesel Shortage Spreads Across East Coast as Goldman Sachs Issues Warning

Diesel Shortage Spreads Across East Coast as Goldman Sachs Issues Warning
Gas prices over $7 per gallon are displayed at a Chevron gas station in Mill Valley, Calif., on Oct. 3, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

A diesel fuel shortage is spreading across the eastern United States as one company has launched an emergency delivery rule.

Mansfield Energy is now requiring a 72-hour notice for deliveries to obtain freight and fuel “because conditions are rapidly devolving,” the firm told customers, according to Bloomberg News. Fuel prices are running 30 cents to 80 cents higher than the market average, according to the firm.

“At times, carriers are having to visit multiple terminals to find supply, which delays deliveries and strains local trucking capacity,” the note reads, referring to the market in Tennessee, which is “seeing particularly acute challenges.”

Representatives for Mansfield Energy didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Recent data provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that diesel stockpiles are at their lowest level for October in records that date back to 2008. The United States had about 25 days of supply as of Oct. 14, which is down from 34.2 days of supply from the previous month.

The low supply drew critical comments from a top White House official in a recent interview with Bloomberg. National Economic Council head Brian Deese said the supply is “unacceptably” low and said “all options are on the table” to deal with it.

More Warnings

With diesel supplies dwindling, Goldman Sachs warned on Oct. 25 that a shortage of diesel fuel will likely push prices even higher. The investment bank said in a note that underinvestment in refining capacity coupled with refinery closures and operation disruptions have contributed to the diesel scarcity.

Because long-haul trucks and freight trains run on diesel, a shortage and increase in prices will translate to higher prices on goods and food nationwide.

“The public are apoplectic when gas rises, but diesel has incredible impacts to inflation in the form of freight costs and surcharges,” Tom Kloza, Opis global head of energy analysis, told USA Today on Oct. 26.

The federal government’s efforts to curb higher energy prices will likely fail because it focuses on crude oil and has little impact on refined fuels, according to analysts with Goldman Sachs.

“Refining constraints can create a sharp wedge between where crude and product markets clear, making policy management of crude supply less effective at controlling consumer prices,” analysts Callum Bruce and Roman Langlois wrote in the note.

Diesel is similar to heating oil that’s used for furnaces across the United States. When the winter months approach, demand for heating oil will rise, which will likely place more constraints on diesel.

“Between now and the end of November, if we don’t build inventories, the wolf will be at the door,” Kloza said. “And it will look like a big ugly wolf if it’s a cold winter.”

According to data provided by AAA, diesel reached a record high of $5.81 per gallon in June. But Kloza noted that prices could surge even beyond that figure.

“There’s a real threat something in the energy chain will go parabolic, and I think generally, the worry is that something that goes parabolic is diesel and heating oil,” he said.

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5
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