Will There Be A Diesel Shortage?
As we move into the holiday season, the world is facing more and more supply chain issues and shortages. Empty shelves and rising prices are becoming a familiar site for many in North America. And now, a new shortage is looming: a shortage of diesel fuel.
US stockpiles of diesel fuel currently sit at a 20-year low. This comes at a time when Americans are doing extensive online shopping and the supply chain is struggling to keep up. And indeed, it’s not even the only diesel fuel shortage currently developing; propane stockpiles are also dwindling.
But does that mean there’s really a diesel shortage? And how will it affect you?
Is there a diesel shortage in 2022?
Although not everyone is feeling it, in many places at home and abroad, there is definitely a diesel shortage. Many truck stops in Ohio and the American Southwest are already feeling the squeeze at the pumps. Here, there are already limits on how many gallons customers can purchase. Some truck stops are even shutting down for the day because supplies have run out.
In China, the second-largest user of diesel after the US, is also experiencing fuel supply issues. Long waits for diesel and concerns about supplies have China tapping its fuel reserves.
All these facts together tell us that, yes, there is a diesel shortage happening. And with the holiday shopping season beginning and the supply chain already struggling, things will likely get worse before they get better.
Why is there a shortage in diesel fuel?
The exact causes of the diesel shortage are not entirely clear. Some possible causes include:
- Decreased diesel production
- Too few drivers for fuel haulers
- Increased demand that supply can’t meet
One likely culprit for production shortages is the deep freeze that hit Texas earlier this year. Texas is the US’s largest oil-producing state, with over 4.6 million barrels produced per day. Texas is also home to many of the nation’s top diesel refineries.
Issues caused by the freeze greatly reduced production, causing many refineries to shut down or heavily reduce production. This greatly impacted diesel stockpiles, and we’re likely feeling delayed effects from that now.
The so-called “Great Resignation” could also be contributing. As unprecedented numbers of Americans quit their jobs, employers are struggling to fill positions. And as they struggle to hire and keep drivers to haul fuel, companies are surely struggling to meet demand.
How the shortage affects RVers
If the diesel shortage continues to worsen, you’ll likely feel a number of effects. The most obvious effects will be felt by drivers of diesel vehicles, such as trucks and RVs.
If your RV (or tow vehicle) runs on diesel, you can expect to pay higher prices at the pump until supplies improve. You may even find gas stations running out of diesel, leading to long lines at stations that do have a supply.
You won’t just notice the shortage as an RVer traveling. The shortage will creep in to affect you in other ways too.
Because most tractor-trailers and other heavy transport vehicles use diesel fuel, it will also have further effects on supply chains. In addition to empty shelves at stores, you may start seeing longer delivery times for things you buy online.
While it’s still early, there’s no denying that diesel fuel supplies are facing issues. With low stockpiles brought on by high demand and lowered production, many are starting to feel a big squeeze. And things will likely continue to worsen, at least in the near future.
The shortage continues to develop
Between issues with refineries, hiring drivers to haul fuel, massive shopping demand, and increasing supply chain issues, the diesel shortage is a complex issue. And it’s only one of many shortages being experienced worldwide. As the situation develops, only the future will tell how severe the situation becomes.
Eliminate RV fuel anxiety by planning every fuel stop in advance, before your RV trip begins. By using RV LIFE Trip Wizard to plan your trips in detail, you’ll know exactly when and where you will need fuel for your RV or truck. You can also vet those fuel stops with satellite and street view to make sure you can get in and out safely, and back on the road.