Even as the nation has a mere 25 days of inventory, marking the lowest levels since 2008, the four-week average of distillates supplied, a proxy for demand, rose to its highest seasonal level since 2007, according to an analysis from Bloomberg.
The low supply and high demand comes as Americans, many of whom are concerned about the state of the economy, prepare to cast their ballots in the upcoming midterm elections. National Economic Council Director Brian Deese acknowledged to Bloomberg that inventories are “unacceptably low” and affirmed that “all options are on the table” for the White House to address the problem.
The depleted supplies occur because of maintenance season at many refineries and pressures from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, two ships carrying 1 million barrels of diesel are slated to arrive in New York, while a Pennsylvania refinery belonging to Delta Air Lines is returning from seasonal maintenance.
Inventories in the northeastern United States, where more residents burn fuel for heating than any other part of the country, are at less than one-third of usual seasonal levels. The diesel shortage comes after the Energy Information Administration said last week that the average household primarily using natural gas for space heating will likely spend $931 on power from October to March, marking a $206 increase since last year.
With a greater energy density than other liquid fuels, diesel enables the majority of shipping activity in the United States via semitruck and train, as well as large shares of military and farming activity. The national average cost of diesel fuel is presently $5.33 per gallon, according to data from AAA.
In response to soaring energy prices, which have contributed to overall inflationary pressures, President Joe Biden announced in March that his administration would release 180 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a stock of emergency crude oil intended to manage supply disruptions in energy markets. Transactions for the final 15 million barrels will clear by the end of December.
“Global crude oil supply flows remain a challenge, due in large part to the ongoing instability caused by Russia’s actions in Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. “The President is prepared to authorize significant additional sales in coming months if conditions require.”
Biden has also presided over a decrease in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve from 638 million barrels to 405 million barrels, marking the lowest level in decades, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Though the release is primarily meant to cut domestic energy prices, at least 5 million barrels have found their way to nations such as India, the Netherlands, and Italy, as well as a Chinese petroleum company with links to Hunter Biden.
Roughly 84% of Americans consider the economy to be a primary factor on their minds as they cast ballots in the midterm elections, according to a recent poll from ABC News and The Washington Post. The Republicans lead the Democrats by a 16% margin and a 19% margin with respect to trust on handling the economy and inflation, respectively.
Biden has emphasized green energy throughout his tenure while leasing less federal land for oil and gas drilling than any administration since the end of World War II. Soon after his inauguration, Biden also discontinued Keystone XL pipeline project expansions.