Diesel shortages affecting western Canada, northern states

| 11/4/2011

Diesel fuel shortages are affecting trucking operations and fuel prices in western Canada and in states like Minnesota and the Dakotas. Refinery capacity is being blamed on the U.S. side, while refiners in Alberta are experiencing a shortage of a chemical used to refine diesel.

Reports of diesel shortages, and some gasoline shortages, are becoming more widespread in the central part of the continent, and some are saying it is all-too-reminiscent of shortages that occurred in 2008.

In North Dakota, shortages have caused Gov. Jack Dalrymple to issue an executive order declaring a state of emergency and relaxing hours-of-service rules for truckers hauling petroleum products. Dalrymple’s order is scheduled to last through Nov. 15 but it may have to be renewed.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a similar order for petroleum haulers that will last through Nov. 30.

Minnesota faced a similar supply issue in August and September.

In the Canadian province of Alberta, the refiner Suncor is dealing with the shortage of a chemical used in refining diesel fuel, according to reports by CTV and Today’s Trucking. The shortage has lead to the company rationing diesel to its retail outlets including a large chain, Petro Canada.

An official was quoted as saying the situation could last up to several weeks.