Energy Company Warns Diesel Situation 'Rapidly Devolving'

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Following news that the U.S. diesel supply has sunk below 25 days, Mansfield Energy issued an alert pertaining to shortages in the southeastern region of the country. While no direct reasons were given, the company noted that diesel reserves have been holding at historic lows throughout most of this year. 

“Poor pipeline shipping economics and historically low diesel inventories are combining to cause shortages in various markets throughout the Southeast," the company stated. "These have been occurring sporadically, with areas like Tennessee seeing particularly acute challenges.”

While fuel shortages and energy deficits have become a global issue, Mansfield Energy has signaled that certain American states will be seeing some problems. The northeastern United States has been the zone enduring the lowest diesel stockpiles throughout most of 2022. But some of that pressure will be shifting around and may create problems for people living in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama. 

"Because conditions are rapidly devolving and market economics are changing significantly each day, Mansfield is moving to Alert Level 4 to address market volatility," Mansfield's release stated.

"Mansfield is also moving the Southeast to Code Red, requesting 72-hour notice for deliveries when possible to ensure fuel and freight can be secured at economical levels." 

Worried or not, market conditions have benefited the energy sector economically. Despite diesel inventories existing at the lowest levels witnessed since 2008, the profit margin for manufacturing diesel fuel is unprecedentedly high. 

The White House has said it plans on keeping an eye on diesel inventories and is doing what it can to boost supplies. However, earlier attempts did not go as hoped and the United States has continued exporting more diesel fuel out of the country than usual. When President Biden urged the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase production, he was snubbed.

This has effectively left the administration dipping into reserves (sometimes just to sell it) and trying to produce more domestically as part of its overarching energy strategy, ironically as it also has to acknowledge its general desire to see the nation move away from fossil fuels on a permanent basis. Unfortunately, reality trumps whatever hypothetical future politicians would like to see. Energy reserves are running out today and are now below a month’s supply where diesel is concerned.

The Saudi Energy minister publicly addressed this after Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia in July, alleging that the White House intentionally tried to manipulate the price of oil by tapping into those reserves.

"People are depleting their emergency stock and using it as a mechanism to manipulate the market when its purpose was to mitigate shortages of supply," he said. "Losing emergency stocks may be painful in the months to come. Nations shouldn't use emergency oil reserves to manipulate prices.”

Obviously, there’s a bit of malice between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. at present. But that doesn’t make the above statement untrue. OPEC could have increased production to help lower fuel prices (and increase supplies) globally. But they, like Western oil producers, seem to have realized that there’s a lot of money to be made when people are desperate.

However, the situation seems to be worsening at a pace that may be difficult for companies to contend with, especially now that most of the planet is moving into cold-weather months (where heating is a necessity) and we’re beginning to see more regular citizens protesting energy companies in addition to their own government.

Whether you're inclined to blame the Russo-Ukrainian War, OPEC, Western energy companies, or generalized government mismanagement, the reality is that they've all kind of come together to create the horrid situation in which we've all found ourselves. Here's hoping there's a way out and that the remaining diesel fuel gets us through the winter.

[Image: Joe Gough/Shutterstock]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • 95_SC 95_SC on Nov 01, 2022

    Why not just tell the Saudis to toe the line or we will not only pull military aid, we will assist those organizations that aren’t happy with the House of Saud controlling Mecca. Why are we spending one red cent protecting the Kingdom at this point? Maybe they can get the Chinese or the Russians to keep the crazies from coming after them

    • See 1 previous
    • 95_SC 95_SC on Nov 01, 2022

      I had hoped the 20+ years we spent fighting over there to no avail would move us away from depending on these d!ckhe@ds. Sadly it wasn't to be. All you can do is move away from their product on a personal level it seems and hope enough folks feel similarly. I'm not optimistic there either but at least it helps insulate you as much as possible from their BS.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Nov 01, 2022

    I don't think oil from the Saudis is worth sacrificing more American lives for. Let Russia and China have them.

    • EBFlex EBFlex on Nov 02, 2022

      But you’re willing to risk our national security by spending $40 billion on Ukraine rather than spending that money in this country to help its own citizens out.

  • Probert A few mega packs would probably have served as decent backup.
  • Lou_BC Lead sleds. Now-a-days GM would just use Bondo.
  • Jrhurren This is a great series. Thanks Corey
  • Tane94 Not as stylish as the Soul which it is replacing but a practical shape and bonus points for EV only.
  • Ronin What is the magical white swan event in the foreseeable future that will suddenly reverse the trend?Success tends to follow success, and likewise failure. The perception, other than among true believers, is that e-cars are a lost cause. Neither government fiat, nor government bribery, nor even the promise of superior virtue among one's peers have been enough to push past the early adapter curve. Either the bust-out is right now for e-cars, or it doesn't happen. Marketing 101.Even subtle language-manipulation, such as deeming those possessing common sense as suffering from some sort of vague anxiety (eg, "range anxiety") has not been enough to induce people to care.Twenty years from now funny AI-generated comedians will make fun of the '20s, and their obsession with theose silly half-forgotten EVs. They will point out that, yes, EVs actually ran on electricity generated by such organic fuels as coal and natural gas after all, and then they will perform synthesized laughter at us.