Diesel supply impacting US trucking

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According to several trade publications, diesel supplies on the US East Coast are now the lowest in almost 20 years and some are saying that diesel is now surpassing labour as the industry’s No. 1 expense.  Reduced diesel supplies out of Russia combined with a loss of US refining capacity could have a devastating impact on the supply chain. Refinery utilization nationwide was at 90% last week. That is right about in the middle of where utilization has come for the first weekly report of May over the past six years, excluding the pandemic-related operations of 2020. The EIA, in July of last year, said it had removed six refineries from its permanent base of refining capacity. While that can be offset by capacity expansions and de-bottlenecking elsewhere, the end result is that even at full capacity — and the nation’s refining system never operates at 100% — there is less capability to produce refined products in the US than there was two years ago.  The average price for a gallon of diesel fuel in Ohio reached a record $5.24 for the state.  Semi-trucks can carry between 120 and 150 gallons of diesel fuel and to fill a quarter of a tank costs can range between $900-$1,100.

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