Will a shortage of Diesel hit Louisiana? Expert offers insight

The price of diesel is up again this month and according to experts and will likely continue to climb.
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:06 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2022 at 7:01 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The price of diesel is up again this month and according to experts it will likely continue to climb.

So, what will this mean for all of us as we head into the holiday months? Diesel prices increased 33% for the month of November.

“There’s been a lot of tightness behind the scenes with less capacity. About a million barrels per day less capacity than we had a few years ago. It’s been a struggle, especially because of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Europe is trying to find diesel and oil elsewhere and that’s why we’re seeing a lot of the tightness here in the U.S. in terms of diesel especially,” said Patrick DeHaan, Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.

Diesel demand is through the roof, but certain factors have our refining capacity struggling to meet that demand, on top of Europe competing with the U.S. for oil supply.

Burnell Hayes Jr. runs a local dump truck company and has never seen prices this high.

“A fuel shortage would make the fuel prices go up like we’ve been seeing lately, and it kind of trickles down, like you said, to the customer,” said Burnell.

With prices as high as they are already, Burnell has even had to turn customers down, believe it or not, to save money.

“You have to be real selective of the jobs you take. You have to take into account the distance you travel, what you’re carrying, and all that plays a part in your fuel costs,” Burnell added.

And a shortage in diesel would have an immediate impact on things like your groceries, which already saw significant increases according to the most recent inflation reports.

“It’s gonna go one of two ways. It’s either gonna be that we can’t get trucks because everything we have comes on diesel trucks, and we can’t fill our shelves, or likely, we will have much higher prices because it’s a supply and demand problem,” said Blaise Calandro with Calandro’s Supermarket.

And it’s not just products coming from out of state, even local goods are delivered on diesel.

“Even products that we buy from local warehouses, their moving stuff around with diesel trucks, and their receiving stuff from all around the country on diesel trucks from suppliers, other distributors, people that are growing the stuff on farms,” Blaise explained.

Right now, most of Louisiana’s harvest is already over. But sugar cane’s harvest won’t be done until around January. Catherine Floyd helps run a local Sugarmill and says more increases in diesel prices will make it even harder for business.

“Just a year ago, we were paying half as much as we are today. So, the cost has really affected our bottom line. We use tractors every day, we use diesel every day. We have to have it in order to get this crop planted, fertilized, out the field, we just...we have to have it,” said Catherine.

Patrick tells me although Louisiana likely won’t face a diesel shortage, other parts of the country like the East Coast and the Mid-Atlantic could.

“They are in an area that could see limited supply outages and it could worsen over the course of winter. But I’m not really expecting much except high prices in Baton Rouge,” Patrick added.

In terms of when we can expect things to turn around, experts tell us one of two things needs to change. Either supply needs to improve, or demand has to decline. And as of now, neither of those show signs of happening in the near future.

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