Due to a variety of issues, chief among them President Joe Biden’s policies and inflation, the price per gallon of vital diesel fuel has surged to near-record levels and is anticipated to increase even further in the coming months.
Now comes word that Biden’s White House is considering tapping a small and little-known federal diesel reserve in an attempt to address the situation, Fox Business reported.
That strategic stockpile is known as the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve and it contains about one million barrels of diesel fuel — about one day’s worth in the region — that was intended only for emergency use and has been tapped only once before, in the aftermath of 2012’s destructive Superstorm Sandy.
CNN, citing an unnamed senior White House official, was the first to report that the Biden administration was eyeing the small strategic reserve as a means to help address supply shortages and skyrocketing prices of diesel fuel, particularly in the nation’s Northeast.
Diesel fuel, which is used for everything from construction to farming to shipping and transportation, is already priced between $5 and $6 per gallon and some analysts have predicted that it could soar as high as $10 per gallon by the height of summer.
The outlet noted that the administration official acknowledged that tapping the reserve may only have a limited short-term effect on the overall diesel fuel situation and suggested such action would likely be geared toward addressing localized shortages instead of more broadly reducing the inflated cost.
That assessment was more bluntly shared by Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, who told CNN of the plan, “It’s small potatoes. It might buy a couple of weeks or even months, but it doesn’t solve the underlying issues.” He added, “It’s a band-aid — one that isn’t going to last very long and when it comes off the injury is not healing.”
“If conditions deteriorate”
The Hill reported that it had separately confirmed the developing plan within the Biden White House to potentially tap the federal diesel reserve if the increasingly dire fuel situation deteriorated any further.
“The team has prepared emergency declarations for President authorize release from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve if conditions deteriorate,” an unnamed official told the outlet.
“We would call this a bridge to deal with short-term supply shortfalls.”
The Hill further noted that — of course — the Biden administration is largely blaming Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the supply shortages and surging prices of diesel fuel, and not the president’s own policies that strongly discourage domestic energy production and make it more costly.
In the end, tapping the small emergency diesel fuel reserve would be an incredibly short-sighted move that would have an extremely limited positive impact and may actually make the overall situation even worse in the long run.