by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Did the United States suddenly become a socialist basket case? It’s hard not to come to that conclusion after reading about the endless shortages plaguing the nation. Each of which President Joe Biden either seems clueless to resolve or determined to make worse.
Let’s start with the biggest one: the shortage of diesel fuel. While Biden was busy draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to tamp down gas prices before the midterm elections, the real worry was that supplies of diesel fuel have been running short.
Two years after the short-lived COVID lockdowns ended, diesel inventories continued to trend downward to their lowest levels since 2008. The cost for a gallon of diesel fuel is 46% higher than it was a year ago, according to AAA, and now costs more than $5 a gallon.
That affects every corner of the economy because, while passenger cars mostly use regular gasoline, diesel powers just about everything else that makes the economy move, and many homes, especially in the northeast, rely on heating oil – a related product – to keep their families from freezing to death.
The American Farm Bureau Federation tried to alert Biden to the scale of this problem weeks ago. “Our nation’s food supply is driven by diesel. High diesel prices are severely impacting our farmers and ranchers, causing increased costs to consumers, and adding to food insecurity.”
One big factor for all this: declining refinery capacity. After trending upward for years, it has fallen off each year since. A big reason: Biden’s war on fossil fuels.
“If you are a refiner forecasting billions in losses — and you require massive investments in order to keep your refinery operating safely and in compliance with the laws — you may very well simply make the decision to close down,” writes Robert Rapier in Forbes.