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Diesel Shortages Hit Nebraska, Surrounding States

November 13, 2011

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Look for continued diesel shortages in Nebraska, western Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and the Dakotas over the next several more weeks.


According to the Omaha World-Herald, a "severe mismatch between diesel fuel supply and demand" has meant some retailers have run out of diesel for short periods.

The problem is peak demand during the fall harvest, plus unusually high demand due to North Dakota's oil boom.

Some fuel truck drivers are spending hours waiting in line or are shut out of fuel terminals in Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa, according to the paper, waiting for fuel to arrive via pipeline.

Over time, fuel will be moved around where it's needed, said John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute.

In addition, as the fall harvest winds down, supplies should begin to catch up with demand.

The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star reports that the shortage particularly is bad in the Lincoln area. One of the two fuel terminals south of Lincoln hasn't had any diesel fuel for at least a month, and the other has had sporadic supply that runs out in a couple of hours.

The paper reports that in addition to the high demand regionally, reasons include export demand and refineries switching over to winter blends.

Fuel exports, especially diesel, have hit a record high. In August, the latest month for which the Energy Department has data, U.S. refiners exported a record average of 895,000 barrels a day of refined fuels, compared with 730,000 barrels a day during the first half of the year. Most went to Central and South America.

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