Tuesday, December 6, 2022

"Buy Lots Of Fuel And Store It Some Place Safe, Because Massive Outages Are Coming This Winter"

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"Buy Lots Of Fuel And Store It Some Place Safe, 
Because Massive Outages Are Coming This Winter"
by Epic Economist

"If you need to drive to work on a regular basis or if you rely on fuel to heat your home, it’s time to consider stocking up on energy supplies and storing fuels in a safe place because the signs of a winter crisis are already multiplying. The U.S. is currently grappling with one of the worst fuel shortages in decades, with reserves at the lowest seasonal level ever. As we head into the winter, inventories of distillate fuels are being rapidly depleted, and some areas of the country have already started rationing fuel. Now, we’re being warned that despite the recent decline in prices seen over the past few weeks, winter prices will be very different. Demand for energy supplies is expected to soar this month, and so is the cost of filling up your tank and keeping your home warm amid falling temperatures. Industry executives are very alarmed about the impact this crisis is going to have on household budgets, and you should be, too.

Official data released by the Energy Information Administration revealed that national inventories of distillate fuels, - which include gasoline, diesel, and heating oil, - are at their lowest level since 2008. These shrinking reserves are why diesel prices are above $5.00 a gallon nationwide, even though the nationwide average price for gasoline has dropped below $4.00 a gallon. Unfortunately, the measures that allowed that decline to happen can’t stay in place forever because they’re causing some serious imbalances in the fuel industry. Refineries were ordered to produce more gasoline to expand supply and lower prices, and in turn, they were producing less diesel, which pushed prices up by 265% since January 2021 in the spot market of New York harbor, and caused a 38% rise in November alone.

While most consumers may not be directly impacted by skyrocketing diesel prices, they’re actually indirectly impacted in a host of different ways. Given that manufacturers use diesel to power up their operations and truckers need the fuel to deliver goods all over the country, the trickle-down effect of those increased costs eventually hit consumers, who are already confronting the most acute inflation spike in a generation.

To rebuild the inventory of diesel, refineries must produce less gasoline, which will then result in another surge in prices at the pump. In the East Cost, drivers have seen gas prices hit $8 to $10 a gallon this year, and Bloomberg reported that many gas stations have completely run out of supplies already, and these stockouts are silently spreading across the country. On top of all that, diesel is the main component of heating oil, which is used by millions of U.S. households during the winter. Electricity operators also need the fuel. The combustion of the distillate produces natural gas, the energy supply used to power up our homes.

Things could get exponentially worse as the cold season begins. All in all, the diesel crisis could cost the US economy $100 billion this year, according to Mark Finley, an energy fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute of Public Policy. "Anything and everything that gets moved in our economy, diesel is there. Moving stuff around is one thing. People potentially freezing to death is another," he said. In the short term, there are no signs of relief in sight for this situation. And, at the end of the day, “it’s not gonna be pretty for the consumer,” as pointed out by Robert Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA."

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