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How Anti-Fossil-Fuel Politicians Created Our Dangerous Diesel Shortage

truck station

The US is experiencing a dangerous shortage of diesel fuel.

Blame our anti-fossil-fuel politicians, who:

• Prevented us from importing Canadian oil well-suited to our refineries

• Prevented or shut down diesel-producing capacity in the US

• Threatened new investments in diesel

Diesel is the fuel of heavy-duty vehicles and is many Northeast homes’ source of heat. Prices are high and increasing because:

1) October inventories, which should have been high to prep for winter, were their lowest since records began in 1982.

2) Our ability to import diesel is uncertain.

fuel oil chart

Higher diesel prices mean higher prices for:

  • agriculture, which uses diesel tractors and harvesters
  • every physical product, which is transported by diesel trucks, trains, and cargo ships
  • home heating, especially in the Northeast

Diesel shortages could get worse in the coming months as European bans on Russian fuel kick in. Because diesel is a global market this will likely mean even higher prices in the US and Europe, and severe shortages in poorer regions.

Because diesel is a global market there are many contributing causes to diesel shortages. The fundamental global cause is the global anti-fossil-fuel movement, which has suppressed all the fundamentals of diesel supply: oil investment, oil production, oil refining, and oil transport.

While global anti-diesel policies were terrible, they actually provided us an opportunity to use our unmatched resources and ingenuity to become a huge diesel producer and exporter by liberating:

1. Canadian oil imports
2. New diesel-producing capacity
3. New diesel investment

Instead of unleashing our diesel potential, clueless anti-fossil-fuel politicians destroyed it by

  1. Preventing us from importing Canadian oil well-suited to our refineries
  2. Preventing or shutting down diesel-producing capacity in the US
  3. Threatening new diesel investments

US diesel shortage cause 1: Preventing us from importing Canadian oil well-suited to our refineries

The Keystone XL pipeline would have carried a “heavy” oil well-suited to existing US refining capacity.

But anti-oil politicians delayed it and ultimately Biden killed it.

As I pointed out when it was announced that Biden would cancel Keystone XL, his (and other politicians’) cluelessness about the requirements for increasing diesel production was (and is) extremely dangerous.

Had the Keystone XL pipeline been approved promptly, it would have matched Canadian oil with suitable Gulf Coast refineries, providing good profits to US refiners and incentivizing them to expand to handle the potentially endless, secure supply of Canadian crude.

Refiners make long-term plans. Their huge investments have to pay off for decades. The brutal ordeal and enormous cost of the Keystone XL project are no doubt spooking investors right now—preventing US refining capacity down the road, despite a global growth market.

Read rest at Energy Talking Points


Alex Epstein is an energy expert bringing clarity to energy, environmental, and climate issues. He is the author of the NYT bestseller The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, and his latest, Fossil Future.

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