You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Diesel Shortage Fears Rise as Joe Biden Urged to Stop Supplies Running Out

Newsweek 11/2/2022 Giulia Carbonaro
U.S. President Joe Biden In this photo, Biden speaks about protecting Social Security and Medicare and lowering prescription drug costs, at OB Johnson Park Community Center in Hallandale Beach, Florida, on November 1, 2022. © JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images U.S. President Joe Biden In this photo, Biden speaks about protecting Social Security and Medicare and lowering prescription drug costs, at OB Johnson Park Community Center in Hallandale Beach, Florida, on November 1, 2022.

Republican lawmakers are urging the White House to take action against the diesel shortage facing the country, as U.S. refineries struggle to keep up with demand and the situation is expected to worsen this winter.

"It's time for Biden to start taking the diesel shortage seriously," wrote Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton on Twitter on Tuesday.

"First, it was baby formula, and now experts are warning of a potential diesel shortage. Now is the time for the Biden administration to take this seriously — immediately," tweeted Senator Marsha Blackburn on the same day.

Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for Florida's 7th Congressional District Cory Mills tweeted on October 31 to blame the Biden administration for the tight diesel supplies: "U.S. facing a diesel shortage which could spark a crisis for many trucks, tractor trailers used for supply chain, tractor and harvest machines for agriculture.

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

"We have not see these lows since 2008. This is due to Biden/ Dems attack on American fossil fuel. Unleash U.S. energy!"

Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert wrote on Twitter that the diesel shortage "in Colorado and throughout the U.S." was due "to a shortage of competency in the White House." Boebert added that low diesel stocks are "a recipe for disaster."

The White House said it was keeping a close eye on diesel inventories after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that, as of October 14, the U.S. had 25.4 days left of distillate supplies—which include diesel, jet fuel and heating oil. That is the lowest level since 2008.

On October 21, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told Bloomberg TV that inventories were "unacceptably low" and "all options are on the table" to replenish stocks.

The White House has already been moving to make sure some relief is on the way.

In October, at least two ships carrying a total of some 90,000 tons of diesel and jet fuel have been diverted from their original destinations in Europe to the East Coast, where diesel supply deficits are concentrated. But officials are concerned that the 1 million barrels on their way to the U.S. might not be enough to replenish resources for this winter.

The Biden administration has also been considering limiting fuel exports to lower consumer prices, as well as expanding a little-used emergency fuel reserve in New England, as reported by Bloomberg.

But Denton Cinquegrana, chief oil analyst at the agency Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), told Newsweek he is skeptical that there's anything that the White House can do to fight the shortage.

He said the crisis is due to a combination of seasonal high demand, a drop in production by U.S. refineries in recent years, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which have cut diesel imports from Moscow.

"You can't take a refinery and make all diesel or all gasoline," Cinquegrana said.

"You can do some small tweaks that will change the yield a couple of percentage points. Refiners are already in maximum distillate production mode. To replenish inventory would need higher imports, and that's not happening because other parts of the world are fairly tight now, too. Maybe some more comes from China being that they have recently increased export quotas."

The administration could temporarily waive the Jones Act—a 1920 law that limits how cargo is transported by sea—to move more diesel from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, Cinquegrana said, but "the appetite to waive the Jones Act is small, unless there is a major issue like a hurricane."

To replenish stocks to levels that are "comfortable," added Cinquegrana, "you would need some demand destruction. The bad news about demand destruction is that it will probably take a recession for that to happen."

Newsweek contacted the White House for comment.

Related Articles

Start your unlimited Newsweek trial

AdChoices
AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon