The Singular Importance of “Middle Distillate” (Diesel, Jet Fuel, Heating Oil,…)

Continuing the “not good either” motif…

When Crude Oil is refined, it is basically boiled and then different parts condense at different temperatures and you cool the gasses, separating the stuff you want into different “cuts”.

The heaviest stuff doesn’t evaporate at all, and it gives you road tar and asphalt along with some other bits.

Just above that are very heavy oils and greases. Things like motor oil base and bunker fuel oil used by some big ships.

From the top (literally, the thing that does the separation is a tall tower) coolest part you get gasses that don’t want to condense at all (methane / ethane i.e. ‘natural gas’ – some is dissolved in the oil as it comes from the ground) and some that condenses if it is below freezing by a lot (propane) or only a little (butane) i.e. the “Liquefied Petroleum Gas” of LPG tanks and Sunday BBQs that are liquids under pressure.

Just below those you get gasoline / naphtha cuts. In terms of carbons, Methane is 1 carbon (surrounded by hydrogens), Ethane is 2, Propane is 3, Butane is 4 carbons long.

Gasoline picks up at 5 and goes up to about 9 to 10. Naphtha is the same basic cut, but molecule shapes may not be the best for making gasoline as some ping worse than others, but it makes good solvents and works in some turbine engines OK.

Kerosene is the next heaviest at about 10 to 12 long. This is where we start to hit the middle of the tower. The “middle distillates”. Kerosene & Diesel. It runs up to about 14 carbons long (though there’s some variation in range and lots of room for vagueness at times).

The “Oiltanking” site demands I accept cookies, so no linky for them, I’ll just copy the Search Engine crib notes:

Oiltanking: Middle Distillates / Gasoil
A middle distillate is a clear, colorless to light yellow, flammable liquid. It has between ten and twenty carbon atoms, a density of not more than 0.860 kg/l at 15°C, and a flashpoint above 60°C. Middle distillates or gasoils are produced in a refinery by crude oil distillation, which means the crude oil is split into its component parts.

Note that it ranges up to 20 carbons long for some chains (and perhaps rings).

We are all fairly aware that Gasoline is used for most personal transportation in much of the world (and all over North America). In some parts of the world (EU / UK) Diesel is more widely used in passenger cars too.

But what makes “Middle Distillates” so important? The simple fact that most of the modern world depends on them to run.

Diesel Engines are the most efficient we’ve been able to make for transportation. In large stationary installations, some kinds of exotic gas turbines can get just a couple of percent better, but those are building sized engines.

IF you want the most fuel efficient transportation, use a Diesel Engine. Diesels are also fairly forgiving as to fuel they prefer. (Modern highly electronic ones with piezoelectric injectors are more fussy than older ones). D1 or Winter Diesel is essentially the same as Kerosene K1. D2 is a heavier oil used during weather that’s above freezing. It is essentially the same (other than sulphur content) as #2 Heating Oil. Then there are large stationary engines and Marine Diesels the size of small houses that run on Bunker Fuel Oil and even heavier.

For this reason, you find almost all of the global ships, commercial planes, heavy equipment, road transport trucks, busses and such (and in America and some other countries almost all the trains too) running on Diesel Engines or Jet Turbines.

These all depend on “Middle Distillate”. No middle distillate (no kerosene or Diesel) you get no transport by planes, trains, ships, trucks and no heavy equipment mining, moving earth, building sky scrapers, pouring cement for roads, putting out fires, or farming etc. etc. Also no armies nor airforces nor navies protecting you. While the biggest and baddest aircraft carriers and submarines run on nuclear power, much of the rest run on middle distillates. The tanks and trucks of the army almost 100%. Ditto the air forces of the world. Also almost all big standby electrical generators and a lot of pumps.

Basically, without Middle Distillates, the world grinds to a halt.

Heavy machinery, trucking, mining, fire departments & many ambulances, military and construction all stop. Shipping by train in the USA halts, as do ships at sea.
Agriculture stops. Food supply ends. Yes, that bad.

So when you hear that there is a global shortage of Diesel or “middle distillate” in general, realize how broad that damage can be. Literally “the end of life as we know it” if it gets too bad. The present single digit % shortage is bad enough, but Biden & Gang Green want us to go to ZERO fossil fuels. That also means ZERO life. (We don’t have any electric tractors and ships at sea, and electrification of the US Rail system would take many decades and cost more money than we have or can borrow).

While there are existence proofs of electric heavy equipment (drag shovels and some cranes) we simply don’t have the capacity to build a replacement for the whole fleet in anything under about 30 years, IF we were already making them, and we are not. For other equipment, like house sized mine trucks, there isn’t any alternative. Then, in places with flammable gas issues in the air, Diesels are rated to run, but you DO NOT want any electrical sparks, so “some more work needed”.

Then there’s the “minor” issue of all the construction and farming equipment that runs on Diesel. There are no alternative designs available and with life spans of 30 to 40 years, replacing it all in 10 years would be a horrific waste, IF we could do it, and we can’t.

So for at least the next 30 to 50 years, we as a society are 100% dependent on “Middle Distillate” for getting work done, products to markets, construction done, farming done and foods grown, processed and moved, fires put out, and wars fought.

Shutting off oil refining by 2030 or even 2050 is lethal to our nation, economy, and people. But that is the goal of “Gang Green” and the Agenda 30 / Paris “Accords” folks.

Oil fields slowly deplete and produce less each year. To maintain supply, you need a constant effort to find and drill new fields, and increase production at old ones. Similarly, you must keep making repairs to oil refineries to keep them running well, and build new replacement facilities for the oldest ones as they wear out. Get behind the curve by a few years, it can take a decade or more to catch up. We are now behind the curve.

On entry to office, the Biden Admin pandering to “Gang Green” cancelled an oil pipeline curtailing future supply of oil to refineries. (Remember this is a global issue, so who’s refineries doesn’t matter. Diesel is fungible around the world.) They have cancelled oil leases. This,too, means the regular run rate of declining production will not have a correction in time. “Regulation” has been used to hound refineries out of business. Financial FUD (Fear Uncertainty & Doubt) has resulted in banks not funding drilling or refineries. All this leads to declining supply of the essential “Middle Distillates”.

Then, the Chinese Wuhan Covid “Pandemic” shutdowns stopped a lot of shipping and transport. This caused marginal business units to shut down or convert to other uses. As folks get back to normal, demand for fuels returns to normal, but there is less supply. The Democrat Demanded Shutdowns and Lockdowns contribute to fuel supply shortages as well.

Finally, we have the knee jerk “Sanctions” on Russia. This hurts Europe and the UK a lot more than it hurts the USA, but it does hurt everyone. Russia just gets a little less money per bbl of “middle distillates” or crude oil, and sells it to China and others around the world. We get a Gut Punch to our transportation, heating, aviation, farming, emergency responders, and military fuel supply. Fuel demand is rising, and is not very price elastic (a small change in volume makes a big price change, but a small price change does not change demand much). So we also get “price shocks” from the 8% loss of Russian Oil in the USA. The EU / UK get it even worse.

I find it just amazing how Stupid it is to cut off your supply of absolutely essential fuels to your entire economy. Putin can get money anywhere, but where do we turn for more fuel?

Oh, and there’s a plot complication in that you can’t just swap the feed into an oil refinery from, say, Russian to Venezuelan oil. Every oil is different and the refinery is usually “tuned” to that oil. It can take weeks to months (or years if you need to buy or make additional conditioning units) to convert a refinery to a different kind of crude oil. So changing suppliers is neither fast nor easy even if you do find one.

What’s the inevitable result of all that? Look at the gas station as you fill your car, and read the green Diesel Price. It ought to be about the same as mid-grade gasoline. It is now running up to $2 more per gallon. (In the USA). There’s a big global shortage of Diesel and to some extent Jet Fuel. It is much worse in Europe than in the USA, with the UK also in trouble. Biden is busy shipping our Strategic oil supply away, that jeopardizes our military ability to fuel up in a real emergency.

Folks, were headed for the rocks on “Middle Distillate” shortages, and it will have broad and deep impact. This needs to be turned around pronto. IF we continue as we are now, things have a SHTF character in just a few weeks to months. Next September at the latest IMHO, since that’s when home heating oil and farm harvesting (or failure to plant) become critical. Our governments (USA / UK / EU and likely others) are doing nothing to fix this, and everything to make it worse.

As it gets worse, watch for supply outages of everything (as everything gets transported with middle distillates), cancellation of flights & cruises, busses being cancelled, and prices of everything to rise swiftly and far.

With that, here’s some links to ponder and a little commentary on them:

Several articles quote / refer to this one:

Rationing Looms As Diesel Crisis Goes Global

By Irina Slav – Mar 27, 2022, 6:00 PM CDT

Russian refiners cut processing rates of diesel fuel.
Already tight diesel supply is getting even tighter.
Vitol’s chief executive Hardy: diesel supply shortage could trigger rationing in Europe

Earlier this week, Vitol’s chief Russell Hardy warned that a diesel shortage could trigger fuel rationing in Europe. Now, those warnings are multiplying, with fuel rationing no longer looking like an abstract idea. Europe is risking a blow to its economic growth, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing experts. Diesel is what freight transport uses to deliver goods to consumers, but it is also what industrial transport uses for fuel. With Russian refiners cutting their processing rates in the wake of several waves of Western sanctions, already tight diesel supply is going to get a lot tighter.

“Governments have a very clear understanding that there is a clear link between diesel and GDP, because almost everything that goes into and out of a factory goes using diesel,” the director general of Fuels Europe, part of the European Petroleum Refiners Association, told Reuters this week.

As Vitol’s Russell Hardy noted earlier this week, “Europe imports about half of its diesel from Russia and about half of its diesel from the Middle East. That systemic shortfall of diesel is there.”

Europe is not the only one feeling the diesel pinch, however. Middle distillate stocks are on a decline in the United States, too, Reuters’ John Kemp wrote in his latest column.

That’s the basic story. When you are at war with a country, you try to cut off their fuel supply. Sanctions on Russia just cut off the fuel supply to Europe, the UK, and the USA. Our governments committed an act of war on ourselves. So stupid.

Here’s the two FT & Reuters stories they refer to:

Diesel shortage in Europe threatens to slow economic growth

LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) – European economies face the risk of a shortage of diesel, the preferred fuel for heavy industry, as sanctions on Russian energy threaten to disrupt imports while supply from elsewhere remains limited.

Russia is Europe’s largest supplier of diesel and related fuels, sending over three quarters of a million barrels per day for use in European heavy machinery, transportation, farming, fishing and for power and heating.

The surge in diesel prices in Europe has already had an impact on industry by pushing up fuel and transportation costs, which are passed on to consumers through higher costs across the economy.

“Governments have a very clear understanding that there is a clear link between diesel and GDP, because almost everything that goes into and out of a factory goes using diesel,” John Cooper director general of Fuels Europe, a division of the European Petroleum Refiners Association.

If find the phrasing “preferred fuel” very stupid. It makes it sound like they could just put something else in the tank if they wanted. It isn’t “preferred” it is required by the equipment owned, and with decades long lifetimes and replacement cycles. There is No choice in under decades long time scales.

It goes on to say that about 1/2 the imported Diesel in Europe came from Russia, that the biggest importers are Germany, Poland, Turkey, Britain & France, and that importing a Million Barrels / Day from the USA is possible. Except that has caused the North East of the USA to be on the verge of running out of Diesel now.

Traders warn of looming global diesel shortage

Loss of Russian supplies could lead to ‘systemic shortfall’ in Europe, says Vitol chief

Ya think?!

Global markets face a squeeze on diesel because of sanctions on Russia, with Europe most at risk of a “systemic” shortage that could lead to fuel rationing, the world’s top trading groups have warned.

The heads of three of the largest commodity traders — Vitol, Gunvor and Trafigura — estimated that as much as 3mn barrels of oil and its products a day could be lost from Russia as a result of sanctions, following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The corporate leaders were speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Note that 3m bbl/day shortfall and the claim it can be replaced with 1m bbl/day from the USA, who are also going to be short Russian oil… Somebody needs to work on their math skills… /sarc;

The bottom line is that there is and will be an increasing shortage of Middle Distillates with emphasis on Europe & UK, but reaching across the pond to the USA East Coast especially, with price rises spreading to the rest of the nation.

Everybody in NATO loses, just some more than others.

In the mean time, Biden & NATO “Sanctions” are just having Russia shift customers to China, India, etc. etc. and build long lasting stable business relationships.

Has a nice intro to how a refinery / fractional distillation works:

Diesel Shortage may Trigger New Global Economic Crises
By Robert Ipogah -March 28, 2022
CEM ANALYSIS | Deteriorating diesel shortage is capable of triggering a new round of global economic crises after the COVID-19 induced economic depression. Diesel crunch impact on production and trade is intensifying by the day following its function in fuelling industrial machinery and transportation media

Diesel is what freight transport uses to deliver goods to consumers, it is also what industrial transport uses for fuel. Developing economies with poor power supply requires heavy diesel supply to power private power generators.

With distorted freight liners’ operation and impeded industrial production and transportation, productivity and trade will be severely impacted.

Experts have started issuing warning of impending diesel rationing as supply continue to shrink with Russian refiners cutting their processing rates following several waves of Western sanctions including energy sector. Definitely, already tight diesel supply is going to get a lot tighter.

As Vitol’s Russell Hardy noted earlier this week, “Europe imports about half of its diesel from Russia and about half of its diesel from the Middle East. That systemic shortfall of diesel is there.”
Struggling economies like Nigeria with total dependence on imported diesel have started experiencing rising production cost already above 50 percent in some sectors. Price of commodities has continued to rise. Transport company operating the Bus Rapid Trasit (BRT) in the commercial city of Lagos last week scaled down their operation as the company is currently running at a huge loss following the over 200% increase in the price of diesel.

As usual, the 3rd Worlders are going to be hit the worst as Europe out bids them for Diesel.

This one points back to

The World Is Facing A Critical Diesel Shortage
March 15, 2022·
Reuters’ John Kemp reported this week that diesel fuel stocks in Europe are at their lowest since 2008, and 8 percent—or 35 million barrels—lower than the five-year average for this time of the year.

In the United States, the situation is graver still. There, diesel fuel inventories are 21 percent lower than the pre-pandemic five-year seasonal average, which translates into 30 million barrels.

So we started out too low on inventories in stock, then cut off Russian supplies as we hobbled our own future supplies and discouraged investment in oil & refining.

How is any of this smart?

This next one is a bit prone to breathless anticipation. He, too, does an intro to oil refining:

The World Is Facing A Critical Diesel Shortage
Posted on March 16, 2022 by Yves Smith

Yves here. I have regularly been mentioning a US diesel shortage as a real risk if the Russian sanctions aren’t relaxed soon in private discussions and should have Said Something on the blog. This post depicts the issue as much broader.

However, it does not unpack the technical issue at all and yours truly will take a stab. This is a layperson/simplified version, so if I got anything wrong, please pipe up in comments. Additional details also welcome.

He also explains / explores the different crudes vs refineries issues and how you just can’t swap any for any, then refers to the OilPrice article & Reuters too.

What is perhaps worse, however, is that over the past 12 months, the combined diesel fuel inventories in the U.S., Europe, and Singapore, have shed a combined 110 million barrels that have yet to be replaced, Kemp noted.

On top of all this, Russia is a major supplier of diesel, meaning Western sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine are affecting these supplies too. With the market increasingly tight, Shell and BP have shied away from offering any diesel fuel cargos on the German market for two weeks, Reuters reported last week, for fear of shortages.

In the UK,
meanwhile, the Daily Mail cited analysts as warning that the government may need to resort to diesel fuel rationing from next month because of the state of the market and the ban on Russian oil imports, which include diesel fuel. Russia supplied a third of the UK’s imported diesel before the ban.

“Risks of energy rationing and ultimately a recession are growing by the day – something most policymakers seem to be ignoring or not grasping right now.

‘If Russian oil is not integrated back into the market within the next few weeks, we are at a real risk of having to ration crude and products by the summer,” the Daily Mail report quoted an unnamed spokesman for consultancy Energy Aspects as saying.

This guy links in electricity shortages and rolling blackouts:

On top of everything else that is going wrong, shall we add a diesel fuel shortage and a nationwide electricity shortage to the equation? I never imagined that I would be writing about such things in the middle of 2022, but here we are. I will discuss the potential electricity shortage in a moment, but first I want people to understand how serious a widespread diesel shortage would be. Without diesel, our trains and trucks don’t run, and if they don’t run America’s supply chains completely and utterly collapse. So even a moderate shortage would be absolutely paralyzing for the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, supplies are rapidly dwindling and we are being warned that a “global diesel shortage that will shock people” could begin as soon as next month…

(Article by Michael Snyder republished from

We are looking at a nightmare in terms of global diesel shortage that will shock people starting June.

Diesel inventory on the east coast is 18 million (About 3 days demand) as of today, we will run down to sub 10 million.

Let us hope that a way can be found to keep all of our trains and all of our trucks running.

While a 3 day inventory is pretty slim, and there will be inventory outages, it is important to keep some perspective on this. Yes, a 100% outage would be the end of our supply chains as we know them and as he describes. BUT, we only have about an 8% shortfall from Russian Oil and a couple of % more from other causes. That means way higher prices, but not the end of retail or transport as we know them. The USA still refines a LOT of oil and has about 1 m bbl/day of surplus Diesel. It is mostly the Europeans / UK sucking on that supply that’s hurting the East Coast.

He then goes into the electricity situation:


WSJ explains grid instability and increased risk of power shortages this summer comes as fossil fuel power plants are “being retired more quickly than they can be replaced by renewable energy and battery storage.” Power grids are racing to retire conventional power plants fueled by natural gas, coal, and diesel to green forms of energy, such as solar power and wind. There’s also the retirement of aging nuclear power plants.

Why are we “racing” to retire conventional power facilities in the midst of a growing global energy crisis?

That doesn’t make any sense at all.

Yup, Senseless In DC is about it.

But it isn’t just electric generation. We’re also closing down refineries. Despite the standing stock of machines that depend on the fuels they produce.

Massive oil refinery on track to shut down amid fuel supply shortages, record prices
June 8, 2022 |

Thomas Catenacci, DCNF

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include comment from LyondellBasell Industries on its plans to cease operations in 2023.

A key Texas petroleum refinery that produces more than 200,000 barrels of fuel per day is facing a premature shutdown that could increase pressure on domestic fuel supplies.

The Houston, Texas, facility — which is operated by LyondellBasell Industries, spans 700 acres and was built in 1918 — is scheduled to permanently close by the end of 2023, but could shut down earlier if a “major equipment failure” spreads to major units, two people familiar with the issues told Reuters. The refinery processes 268,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and produces 92,600 bpd of diesel fuel, 89,000 bpd of gasoline and 44,500 bpd of jet fuel.

It has undoubtedly been upgraded many times since starting operation 100 years+ ago. So their plan is to exit the business end of next year, but if anything breaks, just walk away then. Prices be damned. Because it is a “Gang Green” ESG Political Decision. But they toss a bone to “The Pandemic Ate My Refinery” claim. Low demand so walk away?

Meanwhile, six refineries with a capacity of about 801,000 bpd of oil have shuttered over the last two years amid the pandemic, federal data showed. In addition, five refineries with a capacity of 408,100 bpd of oil are idle, the largest number of idle refineries since 2012.

This next one is interesting as it includes screen shots of Trucker fuel planning apps saying to fill up before you shut down at night as you may not get fuel tomorrow, and that Love’s and maybe some other truck stops are saying they may run dry in a few days in New England / north east / mid Atlantic.

He also tweeted what appears to be an unnamed industry insider explaining the historic mess hitting Mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets is a combination of crude being diverted from the US to Europe and supply chains issues along the East Coast.

It is also showing up in Agricultural Circles. Farms use a LOT of Diesel in tractors, combines, trucks, bulldozers you name it. This is going to directly impact food prices and availability.

Diesel Prices Just Hit a New Record High, Here’s Why a Diesel Shortage May Be Next

By TYNE MORGAN May 10, 2022
Farmers are already faced with a shortage of equipment parts, tires and some crop inputs. Now, due to increased demand and a drop in production, a diesel shortage may be next as the largest diesel distribution hub in the U.S. is sitting on supplies at a 30-year low.
So, what’s causing the historic run-up in prices?
It’s a combination of things, but Russia, supply chain trying to play catch-up and lower production along the East Coast are all adding to the dire supply situation.

“Diesel supply is short all over the world due to sanctions against Russian oil and much higher post-pandemic demand as supply restocking takes place,” says Peter Meyer with S&P Global Commodity Insights.
Meyer adds the “just in time” supply chain model only exacerbates the problem as the supply chain works through issues that date back to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some farmers are now even reporting farm diesel prices are higher than on-road diesel, which is typically not the case.

Record prices are one thing, but getting your hands on enough diesel may be the next issue for farmers.

“Certain areas of the country have seen shortages already and we expect that to continue. Supplies at New York Harbor–a hub for diesel distribution–are at a 30-year low,” says Meyer. “As such, the East Coast of the U.S. has been hit especially hard, resulting in diesel prices above $6.00 per gallon in that area, well over the equivalent of $250 per barrel. Exports of U.S. gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel to Latin America is also very high, adding to the tightness.”

Has a very spooky graph of present inventory vs prior years. Very much a ‘running on empty’ story for that inventory location / distribution center.

Then he presents the thesis that it isn’t a shortage of Russian Oil, but a loss of East Coast refining capacity:

The problem on the East Coast is refining capacity, not so much the supply of oil,” he says. “East Coast capacity has been cut in half from 1.6 million barrels per day to 800,000 barrels per day over the past 10 years as half of the refineries in the east have shuttered. Lower production capacities and higher post pandemic demand has caused this squeeze in the eastern U.S.”

Not sure how to square that with the notion we have 1 M bbl/day of excess production… maybe it’s a regional thing. Or a NIMBY by Blue Dems in New England who’ve drunk the Green Kool-Aid…

Farmers, at least, have been looking at this for a while now. From last month:

Filling a tractor fuel tank daily now costs some farmers $1,000, double last year’s price.
Bloomberg | May 19, 2022

By Kim Chipman and Megan Durisin, with assistance from Elizabeth Elkin, Zijia Song and Michael Hirtzer.

Farmers from Iowa to Ukraine are grappling with surging diesel prices and an unsteady supply, forcing them to spend unprecedented sums on fuel in a chaotic market and raising concerns about the autumn harvest

In the U.S., where corn and soybean producers are rushing to sow after rains and cold temperatures forced delays, filling a tractor tank daily now costs some farmers $1,000, twice what it was a year ago. And the most intensive part of the farming season is still ahead.

“We’ve never experienced this level of price increase for farm diesel fuel,” said Iowa farmer Chris Edgington, president of the National Corn Growers Association. Cost per gallon has climbed to $4.70 from $2.20 a year ago, he said.

It then does a bit of Russia Bashing and Blame Gaming over Ukraine. No surprise from Bloomberg.

My takeaway from it is higher farm prices are in the future.

This is just another one talking about inventories of Diesel and the Love’s stock-out warning to truckers:

And, as expected, the poorer nations of Africa and Latin America get out-bid and take the worst of it:

Argentina: 19 provinces hit by shortage of diesel fuel
Tuesday, June 7th 2022 – 21:06 UTC

Argentina: 19 provinces hit by shortage of diesel fuel
Tuesday, June 7th 2022 – 21:06 UTCFull article1 comment
Lack of fuel hinders the distribution of LPG cylinders in the northeast
Lack of fuel hinders the distribution of LPG cylinders in the northeast
The shortage of diesel fuel, which at first affected only 8 provinces, has spread to the extent that Patagonia is the only region not yet going through a crisis, it was reported.

After the Province of Buenos Aires joined the list of territories with a short supply, the number of provinces affected has reached 19, according to the latest reports.

The problem was first noticed May 25 and by June 5, already 6 provinces had reported supply problems. The most affected provinces are Buenos Aires, the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Corrientes, Misiones, Santa Fe, Córdoba, Santiago del Estero, Tucumán, Salta, Jujuy, Formosa, San Juan and Mendoza. Meanwhile, San Luis, La Rioja, Catamarca, and Chaco suffer complications. La Pampa only allows refills between 51 and 100 liters.

Then this interesting twist. A large part of the country is on bottle gas for things like cooking. It is delivered by Diesel Truck. No Diesel, no bottle gas deliveries. Anyone with a propane tank might want to think about that…

The provinces of Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, and Misiones are not connected to the Natural Gas network. A cut in the supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) would put them on the verge of energy collapse, it was reported, although supply has been maintained to the fullest. However, operators do not know how much longer they will be able to keep their services running with no fuel.

CEGLA supplies energy to 40% of Argentina’s population. Its use is widespread and essential for homes, industries, businesses, and regional economies and it is even exported to neighboring countries.

Then there’s the Gang Green indirect contributions to shortage and rationing AKA “Central Planning” /snark;

Because the situation is so dire in New York, refinery and fuel magnate John Catsimatidis told Bloomberg, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see diesel being rationed on the East Coast this summer.”

“The markets are telling us there’s a shortage,” Jim Mitchell, Refinitiv’s head of Americas oil analysts, told Business Insider. “This is a tailwind for inflation. We’re demanding more diesel than anyone can supply.”

Adding to the problem is a conversion to “clean” or “green” energy. Certain diesel-making regions such as those in California, have been working to convert refineries into biodiesel hubs,
which is “fantastic for the future but poses a problem for right now,” according to Mitchell.

Of course, higher diesel prices and rationing do not only affect the cost at the pump. Since diesel is the fuel used to get food planted, harvested, and delivered, we could be looking a massive food price increases and even more food shortages. “We’re looking at at least two years of higher food prices via farming, and limited refining capacities in the world and the US,” Mitchell said. “And we’re still demanding more diesel than anyone can supply.”

So let me get this straight: We’re going to have fuel shortages and big price hikes for fuel, leading to food shortages and much higher prices for crops amid lower supply, but we’re going to fix that by using the food to make “biodiesel” in a year or so? Is that what they said? And if we don’t get the crop planted from lack of fuel how do we use it to make the fuel?

Then another one blaming the war in Ukraine instead of the sanctions imposed on Russian oil and Diesel supplies:

In the USA, there is talk of a fuel shortage -especially diesel- worse than that of the 1970s crisis, while countries like Sri Lanka are receiving large shipments of diesel -in this case from India- to make up for a shortage that is already paralyzing the productive apparatus. Diesel stocks are running out all over the world, not only as a result of the lack of adaptability of the chains in the face of unexpected changes – as is the case in the semiconductor sector – but also as a direct consequence of the breakdown of the world productive structure that began with the trade war and has accelerated with the open war in Ukraine.

So maybe we can learn from the complete collapse of places like Sri Lanka and Argentina and not “go there”. Maybe open up some drilling and enable financing for refinery expansion so we can keep from collapsing entirely.

I think this guy is a bit OTT on Hydrogen, but he does point out the connection between fertilizer shortages and Urea that is also used for DEF the Diesel Emissions Fluid (“blue goo”) used in Diesels after about 2008. There have been some sporadic outages of it, too. No Blue Goo, no Diesel deliveries… So shutting down use of Natural Gas will shut down newer Diesel rigs. Hmmm….

2 JUNE, 2022

The effects have been spiraling upward. Coal and gas shortages in China impacted India and South Korea, from transportation to fertilizer, adding to already high natural gas prices since late last year that made it more expensive or difficult to produce hydrogen from natural gas. Hydrogen has been recently on everyone’s lips because of the Green Deal, but it has been central to the chemical industry for a century: no hydrogen means no fertilizers and no diesel.

And not only fertilizers themselves were affected; there had already been shortages last November and December of other products that depend on hydrogen, such as urea, which is used as a diesel additive and caused problems for the logistics industry even before the price of diesel skyrocketed.

And the shortage / outages are now being seen in the field:

June 6, 2022
A diesel shortage — our next crisis du jour?
By Blaine L. Pardoe

I pulled into a Walmart gas station in Locust Grove, Virginia, this weekend, and, lo and behold, there was a sign on all of the pumps informing patrons that they were out of diesel fuel. While my vehicle doesn’t take diesel, it struck me as strange. The signs clearly had been up for at least a day.

After a quick browse of the internet, I learned a great deal. Time magazine and Reuters both recently reported that the oil industry, in order to produce more gasoline and jet fuel, was compelled to cut back on diesel production. This cutting back on the supply of diesel has helped accelerate the inflation of the price of this type of fuel. When the government gets involved, there are always unintended consequences.

One of my social media acquaintances works at an independent trucking company. The high fuel cost had forced them to park their fleet. His company is not alone. You would think this lack of demand from such actions might impact supply, but, apparently, that is not the case. If anything, it poses a new threat to our supply chain woes. Adding to a shortage of truck drivers, now we have many not driving at all. You can almost hear the supply chain moaning in agony as a result.

Make no mistake: this is a big deal. It’s one thing for truckers to pass on their high fuel costs to consumers — it is quite another if things don’t get shipped in the first place because there is no fuel. This is not just a problem for the nation’s truckers. We all stand to suffer.

In Conclusion

This is going to impact me rather a lot. Pretty much all my “stuff” is on the other side of the continent. I’d planned to get it here using a Diesel tow vehicle and trailer. I may need to re-think that and just get a big Gas Truck and pay up for the loss of fuel efficiency. I’d rather not be stuck in Kalifornia with no Diesel available, or in The Mid-Atlantic with a Diesel outage. Decisions decisions…

Hopefully someone in DC will realize that a population waiting for food and fuel deliveries is NOT one willing to vote for you… Then again with China owning Dominion voting machines company and owning the POTUS, maybe (quoting a Microsoft support article about a bug in how they handle default gateways) “This behaviour is by design”…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Emergency Preparation and Risks, News Related, Political Current Events. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to The Singular Importance of “Middle Distillate” (Diesel, Jet Fuel, Heating Oil,…)

  1. another ian says:


    Thanks. I’ve relayed that

  2. H.R. says:

    I don’t see the problem with no diesel fuel in the U.S. or no fossil fuels at all. The elites will have their EVs and it’s all good. Ask Debbie Stabenow (D – MI).

    If you’re a GEB pushing the OWG (One World Government) agenda, it’s a feature, not a bug. Your 120 million farm slave laborers can’t travel from whatever farm they are on, and they are dependent on whatever they can grow themselves for food, since no food will be trucked in. Diesel powered farm equipment isn’t necessary. You’d be amazed how much farming can get done by 120 million serfs with sharpened sticks. Bonus! They are too weak and exhausted to revolt.

    Of course, there’s that small matter of the grid collapsing due to no trucks to repair lines and haul spare parts to substations and generating facilities, but I’m sure the GEBs have accounted for that. Just harness up 30 to 40 laborers to freight wagons and have them tow the parts to where they are needed. And if a wind turbine or solar panel goes out? Well, no problems there, either. It’ll be alright, mate.

    The Soviet and Communist China regimes started out with large agrarian populations that were already low tech or no tech and stuck “down on the farm.” The elites’ task was to attempt to kind of sort of feed, clothe, and house the masses (and the masses of thugs needed to control the people) while they attempted to build a modern industrial and higher tech society.

    They were already had a clean slate to ‘Build Back Better’, Their populations were already skilled in the low-tech arts and living without electricity or trucks or tractors or piped water or plumbing. Also, most of the population was on-side with Socialism and Communism because they were the peasants and serfs at the beginning of the revolutions and were promised that collectivism was their way out. There was no place to go but up. Yet the elites made a hash of that. No Marxist regime has ever created the workers’ paradise that they promised.

    I believe the GEB plan is to get the Western nations back to where the Soviets and Chinese started and start in on utopia for the masses, although the elites will see the fruits of that effort first. The problem I see is that the Soviets and the Chinese peasants had never experienced the good life. The current Western populations, even the poorest among them, have seen and experienced the good life and leisure-living and have no experience with deprivation and a hardscrabble existence. It is going to be tough to get the population on board when they are totally dejected by their losses.

    What was that stupid independent pretend city that was set up in Seattle during those “mostly peaceful” protests? That lasted all of three weeks, and they had all the goods and conveniences anyone could want or need available for import just outside the makeshift city walls.

    If diesel goes poof! that’s the example of what America will rapidly become and the GEBs who brought it all about will just throw up their hands and say “Oops,” hop on their private jets, and head to India, Brazil, or possibly China. Or maybe they’ll just buy a small 3rd-World country, where the population is already used to scraping by to survive and having a few elites at the top.

    The GEBs just think they are the spitters. But just because you are ridiculously, stupid-rich and reasonably smart doesn’t mean things will turn out any different than they always have for those who tried to rule the world.

  3. H.R. says:

    Even though I’m not the smartest person in the room, the reason I think that all those GEBs will go from the top of the heap to the dust heap is because I only have to find one or two fatal flaws in their scheme and history is on my side.

    They, on the other hand, must have a perfect plan. Otherwise, it all goes down in flames just like every other ruler of the world. It may be sooner, and it may be later, but so far, it has always happened.

  4. Simon Derricutt says:

    Considering how long there’s been a drive to defund any fossil-fuel production and telling the producers that there was no future because their products would be banned, not really surprising that there’s a shortage. The UK banned fracking for gas, and the order to concrete-off Cuadrilla’s test wells has been on and off for a bit but still likely to be confirmed by September. Meantime, the gas-field at Gröningen in the Netherlands is also being closed down just when gas-prices are very high and there’s a Europe-wide shortage. Maybe a slight ray of sunshine in the UK in that the Jackdaw oilfield has been approved, but it won’t start producing till 2025 and isn’t that big. On the other hand, looking for gas/oil in Cheshire has been stopped (see ). Against policy to get energy security for the UK…. Instead, buy in Chinese-made steel for the wind-turbines and Chinese-made solar panels, and hope that the wind doesn’t stop blowing and that you can get through the nights.

    It looks obvious that the coming winter will have a lot of power cuts here in Europe, though at least here in France we still have a lot of nuclear power even though 28 out of 56 reactors are currently being repaired. I’m not expecting that France will have enough spare electricity to support its neighbours as before, though, so the lack of despatchable generating capacity is going to bite deeply. Not enough gas available to run those gas-fired power stations that keep the grid balanced, so there will be demand-side reductions (rolling power-cuts to large areas) to stop the grid failing totally. Since in the UK, Drax power station (built on a coal seam) is going to have problems in deliveries of the wood-chips from the USA (as with all deliveries) and will thus be removed from the grid.

    The uncertainty of when the axe will fall will obviously have affected the decisions on maintenance of the equipment for mining or refining fossil fuels. Why put in a repair that will last 25 years if you only expect to be able to run it for 5 years or less? Patch the thing enough to keep it running for now, since tomorrow there may be some new law or tax that puts it out of business anyway.

    It doesn’t take much of a crystal ball to foresee the consequences of the government policy, which also looks to be pretty uniform around the Western world. Also doesn’t take much foresight to see that enough wind and solar power can’t be built to replace the fossil fuels in the timespan planned, or that enough EVs can’t be made to replace the ICE-powered transport. You can’t legislate into existence enough materials and competent people to mine and refine them. Takes time to train people and to make the equipment to do the job, too.

    It is difficult to accept that this isn’t planned to produce these sorts of failures. It’s too obvious that the aims are not possible. The odd thing is that a lot of people who I’d term intelligent are convinced that it is possible to run our civilisation without fossil fuels, and relying only on wind, solar, and batteries. Similarly, a lot of them buy into the climate catastrophe story, and that reducing CO2 emitted by the West will stop that catastrophe from happening (ignoring the increases in fossil-fuel use in China and India that will dwarf any reductions we can make anyway). Seems to me there a large majority of people who have bought the lies and really believe that the predictions of doom are valid.

    About the only mitigation I can offer is that I expect new and much cheaper ways of producing electricity to emerge over the next few years, based on new physics. Probably won’t be fast enough to avoid the major problems coming at the end of this year, though.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    This one has a bit of up-front paranoia about food processing plant fires and such, then does a nice history of the ’70s Arab Oil Embargo fuel rationing:

    Those who didn’t live through that ought to do a refresher on it…

    Current Diesel Fuel Shortage Worse Than 1970s Fuel Crisis, Will Accelerate Potential Food Supply Catastrophe

    Daily Veracity Staff
    May 16, 2022
    6 minute read
    No comments
    As we have reported, dozens of food processing plants have either exploded or caught on fire recently, and barns across the US have been ‘spontaneously’ bursting into flames at the highest rate in recorded history.

    Moreover, tens of millions of chickens have been exterminated since November of last year, and the European pork and cattle supply has been recently affected by diseases like Japanese Encephalitis and Foot-and-mouth disease.

    If this wasn’t bad enough, the baby formula supply in the US has been critically low following a major processing plant being shut down by the FDA, while exports of wheat have been halted by the largest wheat producers in the world due to low supply.

    Over the past few months, the global food supply has been spiraling toward disaster, and these latest events are being labeled by many pundits as a ‘deliberate attack‘ on our already vulnerable food supply.
    Our industrial and transportation networks are heavily reliant on diesel fuel, and more expensive diesel means the price of everything will increase more than it already has. Trucks, trains, and barges also consume about 122 million gallons of diesel per day.

    An executive at fuel price site GasBuddy, Patrick DeHaan, recently reported that retail truck stops have begun hauling large amounts of fuel from the Great Lakes to the Northeast.
    Gas prices have been surging for a while now, but according to Insider, diesel is in its worst crisis since the 1970s, and localized rationing may be making a comeback soon. Many Americans today are far too young to recall the fuel shortages in 1970s America, but the crisis sparked mayhem in the streets and quite literally forever changed the nation.

    “We’ve seen this dance before,” writes historian Meg Jacobs, author of Panic at the Pump. “If you are of a certain age, you surely recall sitting in the back of your family’s station wagon waiting hours on end in the 1970s to get a gallon of gas.”

    The first of the 1970s fuel panics began in 1973 after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised the price of oil by 70 percent. This, coupled with the US embargo — which led to a 400% increase in the price of oil — sparked the 1970s crisis, and threw the world’s economy into a sharp recession within a matter of days.

    The crisis affected everything from home heating to many other business costs that were passed on to consumers in just about every industry. The impact though, was most obvious on the roads, as mayhem in the streets caught on almost immediately.

    According to the NPR, gas station lines wrapped around blocks, with some stations posting green flags if they had gas, and red if they didn’t. Many of the gas stations were using odd-even rationing at the time as well: If the last digit of a car’s license plate was odd, it could only fill up on odd-numbered days.

    We had a couple of cars already, but Dad picked up another one with the “right” plate. Depending on the day (odd / even) we would drive and fill up the odd/even car.

    This is part of why I have the habit of keeping a couple of “old cars” around and full. At any one time I have about 2000 miles worth of fuel in the different cars tanks. Enough to get to the store for groceries and such for about a year if it came to that.

    We never had that much of an issue getting around with the multiple cars. Then again, we were in a small farm town of 3000 people with several gas stations and most everyone was polite and knew each other… Did cut back a lot on any trips that could at all be postponed or eliminated. OTOH, folks had to get to work, and on time. So you would just “check out” the car of the right plate number and go to work. Fill it if you could and it needed a top up. Park it and use the other plate number the next day. Rinse and repeat.

    An old car with a 15 to 20 gallon tank beat a bunch of gas cans by a long shot ;-)

  6. John S Howard Jr says:

    Before retiring, I was involved in heavy power, electrical utilitie, wind turbines and solar generation, in addition to transmission and distribution. My gut tell me that we are headed for disaster. Our electrical infrastructure is in no way ready to take the load of charging millions of EV a day. Our transmission circuits are operating at max and are past their life expectancy; they are basically rotted. We are already experiencing brown outs and power failures. Is anyone thinking? We are headed for one helleva train wreck.

  7. jim2 says:

    Hey John, do a search on “super grid” The Elites have your problem covered. It’ll just cost you an order of magnitude more and take 50 years to build out.

  8. jim2 says:

    Constructing and obtaining the necessary permits for the
    NAS will be an arduous and lengthy task. Fortunately, there
    are several pathways to success. The NAS can use private
    lands and can petition state and local governments for ex-
    panded uses of eminent domain. By participating with local
    state Public Utility Commissions, the NAS developers can
    apply for eminent domain authority to serve regional goals.
    Expanding federal authority may also streamline the per –
    mitting process but could also ignore state and local con-
    cerns. On the other hand, a state-based approach could
    meet those concerns but may become tedious. An RTO
    could provide a balance between both approaches as long
    North American Supergrid permitting and regulation Chapter 477
    as states are willing to work with each other.
    If private lands are inaccessible, the NAS could use BLM seg-
    regated lands and take advantage of the competitive pro-
    cess or use highway corridors. The problem, however, with
    highway corridors is varying state statutes and regulations.
    Using railroads as potential ROWs could sometimes be sim-
    The NAS could also obtain a ROW through tribal lands held
    in trust by the federal government, so the NAS would have
    to work the tribes and BIA. Finding ways to allow the tribe
    to play a more central role in granting ROWs could be key to
    streamlining the process.
    While planning a process for implementing such a wide
    scale initiative, the NAS must consider the existing regula-
    tory framework and must offer concrete changes to exist-
    ing regulatory policy to best accommodate the project. In
    the case of the NAS, the HVDC wire overlay would best be
    implemented and operated through a regional body such
    as an RTO or ISO. While these bodies exist and currently
    serve regional markets in a beneficial way, we advocate for
    a nationwide and independent RTO/ISO structure to be the
    primary regulatory authority governing interstate transmis-
    sion lines. This strikes a balance between local concerns and
    centralized federal authority. Such a regulatory shift would
    require Congressional action.

    Click to access North-American-Supergrid.pdf

  9. YMMV says:

    “Gang Green” — I like that.

    Gangrene is death of body tissue due to a lack of blood flow or a serious bacterial infection.
    For blood flow, read oil. For bacterial infection, read progressives, aka Marxists.

    “Governments have a very clear understanding that there is a clear link between diesel and GDP, because almost everything that goes into and out of a factory goes using diesel,”

    I’ve known that gas prices and inflation are almost in lockstep, because a big part of the cost of everything is in energy, in every little thing, all along the way. Our Dear Leaders don’t get it.

    Those who are gloating because they have an EV, they simply have not realized that it is coming for them too. Get a horse.

  10. Canadian Friend says:

    Very interesting article,

    and I would add that 99% of plastics are made from petrol.

    A lot of people don t know that and they also don t know that without plastic, it would be almost impossible to have electric cars.

    thousands of things we use everyday are made of plastic made from petrol .

    from cell phones to electric cars, from the inside of your refrigerator to most of the medical devices hospitals use everyday, those things, those devices would be pretty much impossible to make without plastic.

    Almost everything we use, even those that are ” green” ( recycling bins are made of plastic…) are made with plastics made from petrol.

    The anti-petrol crowd is under-informed, brainwashed, disconnected from reality.

  11. Thanks E. M.
    I have some things in the pantry to last through emergencies, but this looming “period of shortages” looks to last longer than even the hard-core stockpilers will survive. I will add more of some essentials – cooking oil, for instance. Maybe another can or 2 of gasoline – I’ve only got one vehicle, so no extra in that mode.

    I do wonder about the uneven regional aspects. Y’all have mentioned the plight of those in poorer nations. However, looking at just North America, I think there will be interesting consequences.
    For instance, the Pacific Northwest (WA, ID, OR) currently has an abundance of electricity (much of that Hydro) to meet local needs and send to California. WA has one nuclear facility: OR & ID none. See: Pacific DC Intertie (also called Path 65) and California Oregon Intertie (COI), identified as AC Path 66. However, the region does not have oil and gas. My local motor fuel in central Washington State comes from Montana. WA has a large diesel-powered agricultural sector.
    WA also has a gang-green governor.

    No need to say more – your extensive post is enlightening. I also appreciate the comments of others.

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    Even though the costs of building the needed transmission capacity would be roughly $500 billion,

    Yikes! “only’ $1/2 Trillion…

    analysts have concluded that this proposal can be overwhelmingly privately financed and paid for through consumer bills and that consumer electricity prices would be about the same as the national average.

    Perhaps the “national average” after they have driven it up a great deal…

    Over an estimated timeframe of 30 years, roughly 650,000 to 950,000 jobs would be required to build the necessary infrastructure.

    Yikes! Again!

    Then, given the inflation rate, that will blow out to many many $Trillions by the end of the 50 years slipped schedule… IF we last that long…

  13. YMMV says:

    What we need here is a list of ancient societies which did something remarkable and the current society in those places has no idea how they did it. Once were giants …

    Short list. Pyramids. Nazca Lines. Maya stone walls. Greek buildings such as the Parthenon. Stonehenge. Temples in southeast Asia.

    Even in more historical times. Rome was great. And then it wasn’t.
    Civilizations come, civilizations go. There’s a lesson here.

    This time? Next time? I don’t know, but it looks bad.

  14. E.M.Smith says:


    In this posting:


    I included a “Time Line Of History” that shows empires coming and going:

    And a pointer to where to get a high res one of your own. (Different one linked here: that has more info on it).

    While it doesn’t cover “Lost Empires” where we can imply someone did something we can’t do anymore, it would be a nice place to start. So the Pre-Inca who built the impossible giant stone works are not on it, but the Greek Empire from the era of “Greek Fire” and the Roman empire of Cement fame are on it. At the start of my life we did not know how to make Greek Fire (we now can come close) and Roman Cement was only recreated in the 1800s and only made as good as the old Roman stuff in the last 40 years or so.

    Basically every Empire comes to an end, and almost universal in reaching the end are Government Corruption, Tyrants, Wars and then the odd diseases / famines as the weather cycles water patterns more north / south over many generations.

  15. philjourdan says:

    Even with a GEB, the disaster would be averted. But we do not have a GEB, we have a vegetable running the government, so disaster is inevitable. THe only hope is to 25 him.

  16. beththeserf says:

    What an amazing timeline map to have and stare at on your wall!

  17. H.R. says:

    What is alarming is the shortage of diesel fuel.

    We’ve known about the GEBs Marxist One World Government plans for quite some time and have been discussing it all at length. The destruction of Western Democracy hinges upon the destruction of the U.S. Once the U.S. falls, all of the dominoes will topple.

    Last year, I bought a diesel-powered truck as a tow vehicle. Diesel was chosen because it was pretty much the only option for the size trailer (caravan) that we would be buying. In the discussion of diesels (thanks, y’all for the input which led me to select Cummins) I said that I was also glad to have a diesel in the vehicle stable because there would always be diesel fuel available because the country couldn’t function without it. Right?

    Diesel-powered trucks are the lifeblood of our modern society. With a very small percentage of exceptions, everything we have, use, wear, and eat was made possible because trucks were used in the process of getting the goods to us. I expected gas shortages to limit our ability to travel, but I never expected diesel fuel to be squelched. That would be totally insane. Right?

    The food we eat and the Cheerios we depend on “as part of a nutritious breakfast” 😉as well as just about all of our food depends on mostly diesel-powered agricultural equipment. Right?

    And now we have a diesel fuel shortage that was intentionally created by TICs. And it will probably get much worse before it gets better, if ever.

    The U.S. can get by with a severe gas shortage. It would curtail travel, but so long as there was diesel fuel to move goods, we’d manage OK. Diesel, however, is the lifeblood of the nation.

    But it looks like the TICs are going to sever the carotid artery of the nation and we will bleed out. If they succeed, a few hundred million here in the U.S. will die. I don’t think I’m overstating that, but if I’ve missed the mark, it’s not by much.

    Our TICs must be stopped.

  18. Simon Derricutt says:

    H.R. – I suppose they can always use that excess corn (currently being made into alcohol to dilute the petrol/gas at the pumps) to make corn oil for the Diesel fuel? Then again, there’s all that Ukrainian sunflower oil going missing from the market, too.

    I read a while back that if you grew sunflowers, then you’d need around 10% of the crop to run the Diesel tractors to grow, harvest, and press it, giving around 90% of the oil to sell on. I haven’t tried it.

    Of course, without that supply of Diesel fuel, they can’t mine the materials needed to build EVs and battery-powered trucks. Bit like changing horses mid-stream when the second horse hasn’t even reached the first bank yet. Splash….

  19. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, yes but…

    The Diesel engine is able to run some other odd fuels too, in an emergency.

    The older Ricardo type designs (pre-combustion chamber, indirect injection) much more so than the modern “common rail” and direct injection computerized, sensor driven types. But all have some flexibility.

    So I’m keeping my old 240D Mercedes with a Ricardo type engine essentially forever as in a Mad Max scenario it can run on anything from light kerosene to some percentage of motor oil. (I’ve also used vaporized “co-fuel” in the air intake with the Diesel injection just acting as ignition spark… From alcohols to propane… up to about 75% of the mix, just stay away from a stochastic mix that will self ignite). Even ran a mix of Crisco Shortening dissolved in kerosene once just to prove a point. Oh, and vegetable oils if it is warm and lamp oil if it is cold…

    The Cummins is less tolerant of “funny fuels” due to being direct injection and using a heater box in the air intake instead of glow plugs for cold weather starting ( I think it may also be higher compression than the 18:1 of the Mercedes…). Plus ALL the modern Common Rail Direct Injection engines are much more limited in running light fuels (not enough lube) or heavy fuels (electronic piezoelectric injectors don’t handle the added viscosity well at all).

    The US Military runs Jet Fuel (kerosene) in the Hummer, but adds 1 quart of motor oil per 10 gallons to get the lube quality up (or so I’ve been told). So in a real SHTF Mad Max scenario, you ought to be able to do the same. Assuming anyone is still flying jet turbines around…

    Then you can always “make your own”… Take any plant or animal oil or fat. Mix 19% (methanol preferred but ethanol also works if warmed to summer temperatures) and 1% lye (acts as a catalyst and can be recovered later) with 80% oil or fat. Blend. Let stand at warm for a day or so. It will separate into 3 layers. Lye on the bottom, glycerin (useful for a lot of stuff but crappy in your fuel), and BioDiesel as the largest and I think the top most. Filter off the fuel. You can run it “as is” in an emergency, but better if you fine filter it (5 to 10 microns IIRC) and neutralize the pH.

    So there’s that.

    FWIW, IF we are “out of Diesel”, being able to fill up your truck will be the least of your worries….

    The Mercedes is about 21:1 compression ratio. The Cummins run about 16:1 to 18:1 IIRC. This too will affect how they react to different fuels.

    While I’d not try it on a new Cummins that I really cared about… it ought to be the case that “home grown moonshine” (i.e. water / ethanol about equal) fumigated into the air intake to about 1/2 engine power to 3/4 engine power, would work as a “co-fuel” ignited by the Diesel injection. The water / alcohol mix ought not “detonate” or “ping” (just don’t run it past the “hot box” if starting cold…) but wait for the injection charge to ignite it. I ran my old Volvo Penta marine diesel with methanol in the air intake, and I ran IIRC rubbing alcohol in the air intake of me Nissan Turbo Diesel in an old International Harvester Scout (also ran propane that way via a 3/8 inch plastic tube to the air intake… again, at a lean enough mix it would not pre-ignite).

    Essentially you need a high enough “Octane” rating and bad enough “mix ratio” that the fumigated fuel will not self-ignite in the particular engine you are trying to co-fuel. Approach from very bad lean mix (i.e. near zero) and never go over about 3/4 of total fuel. From about 1/2 of fuel mix up to 3/4 of fuel mix, start adding more Diesel via the foot pedal to full power. At least, that’s what I did.

    Ethanol, Methanol, Propanol, Natural Gas, LPG / Propane and Butane all ought to work in many (most?) engines; but it requires experimenting to find out and a very fast “back off” if it starts to ping or rattle… With modern (i.e. 2000+ year) engines be more careful as their “computer controls” may get cranky at you if they “know” they are putting in X quantity of fuel and the air-mass & power readings say Y is happening. For running “funny fuels” in Diesel engines – Older is very much better.

    FWIW, natural gas as a co-fuel was written up in a Masters Thesis paper at the Engineering library of U.C. Berkeley. That’s where I got the idea. You will also find Cummins sells big industrial generators that do it (using computerized controls to avoid mix issues) and they advertise that you can run, for example, 2 days on the stored Diesel alone or 2 weeks if the natural gas lines continue to work. I’m pretty sure “their guy” was reading when I was posting my experiments and talking about the Berkeley paper… ’cause a couple of years later was when they started shipping ;-)

    Hopefully you never have any use or need for any of this information ;-)

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    Older Diesels can run plant oils IF you heat it up. The problems are:

    1) Too viscous. You need to thin it or the injectors make blobs not mist.

    2) Incomplete combustion sometimes (especially if not heated). Can carbon up the head / piston.

    3) In winter, the fuel turns to fudge and does not pump / clogs fuel filters. See olive oil if stored in the fridge… Only cure is a heated fuel system from tank to injection pump.

    4) “Modern” computerized common rail direct injection engines will complain about the fuel being out of spec and may go all pouty and refuse to run via administrative fiat.

    There are wonderful old school engines you can order from India designed to run on the plant oils and I’ve wanted to set one up as an emergency generator… “Lister” engines:

    You can cure the viscosity issues by either heating the oil to about 140 F to 200 F (i.e. engine coolant temperature, hint hint) or by adding some percentage of ‘thin’ solvent (kerosene or naphtha). This also usually solves the incomplete combustion problem, but no guarantees in any ersatz DIY “conversion”….

    Better is to just DIY Bio-Diesel (described above). Depending on the feedstock used, you may still get flocculant bits of solids in frozen fuels, so added fuel tank / fuel line heat is needed if going into the Frozen Zone ;-) You can test your BioDiesel by the expedient of putting a bit in the freezer and seeing when it gets cloudy / solidifies… Blending some regular K1, D1, D2, H2, Stoddard Solvent / Naptha into the fuel can depress the cloud point a lot… which is why you see BioDiesel blends at 5% to 20% and only find 100% in warm climates in warm months…

    FWIW, Truckers running regular Diesel up in places like Alaska have this same problem with regular old #2 Diesel (D2) in winter. So they run a “special” D1. But at “way below zero” they don’t even shut those engines off or the fuel gels in the fuel lines. There are commercial fuel line heaters and more to “fix” that. So this isn’t a problem unique to BioDiesel, just it happens closer to 32 F than -32 F…

    Fun Fact: The original Diesel engine invented by old Rudolf was made to run on “ground nut oil” aka Peanut Oil. Yup, from Day One they used plant oils. Only later when petroleum was The King did they specialize the engine to Petroleum Only… (He first tried powdered coal dust but the engine blew up and seriously injured his assistant).

    Diesel’s name has become synonymous with a crude oil derivative, but he designed his engine to use a variety of fuels, from coal dust to vegetable oils. In 1900, at the Paris World Fair, he demonstrated a model based on peanut oil.

    He became something of an evangelist and in 1912 – a year before his death – Diesel predicted that vegetable oils would become as important a source of fuel as petroleum products.

    A more appealing vision for owners of peanut farms than for owners of oil fields, the impetus to make it happen largely dissipated with Diesel’s death. Hence the second conspiracy theory to inspire a speculatively sensationalist headline in a contemporary newspaper: “Murdered by agents from big oil trusts.”

    So there’s that…

    There’s a fairly large community of folks interested in funny fuels in Diesels. Just sayin’…

  21. Simon Derricutt says:

    EM – IIRC there was a WWII German project using powdered coal to make a jet engine to fly a plane. I expect it would blow the ash out pretty fast, so provided you can pump the dust in OK it should work fine. Interesting what you can make work when you have to.

    I think we’ll likely have motors made using those electric thrusters I’ve been talking about, but it may take a few years to get enough power out of them to be practically useful. The problem though is that this Diesel shortage is happening now, so jam tomorrow won’t really help.

  22. H.R. says:

    I was not concerned about diesel for my truck as I didn’t think the TICs would have enough stoopid embedded in their evil to stop trucking.

    Cutting the capability of trucks to run doesn’t just affect us peasants. How will the elites’ caviar and filet get delivered? Don’t say, “bicycle messenger” because there’s no way to get beef from Omaha or Chicago to New York before it goes bad. There’ll be no refrigeration because at point, there will be no electricity.

    So yes, E.M. At the point of no diesel for anyone, there will be much bigger problems than worrying about a two-day drive to grandma’s house.

    The TICs are slitting their own throats while attempting to put their boot on our necks.

  23. E.M.Smith says:


    I’d never heard of that one! Would need very extraordinarily fine powder coal to have a fast enough burn rate. Plus ignition and run up would be a bit of trouble. (Likely start it on Jet-A then swap over after warmed up). Erosion of the expander / exhaust blades (running the compressor stage via shaft) and forming “glass” on them from melted slag might be an issue too… Maybe just a ram jet ;-)

    OTOH, only a small part of the engine energy runs the compressor… Hmmm….

    So a “2 fer” engine. Mate a little gas / k1 / JP-4 / Jet-A turbine with compressor / exhaust blade sets and PTO to a big honker with only inlet / compressor blades. Start and run the little one on liquid fuel, and it runs the compressor section of the big one that burns coal. Now the little one can get everything turning and going, and with a little pilot flame of Jet-A you can light off the powdered coal reliably. Yeah, I think that would work…


    It’s all just a matter of money, doncha know… Those with lots of extra money can then buy special fuel just for them to get their goodies…

    (Though how their pilot will get his family fed and how he will get to work are problems “left for the student” of the Grand World Masters… and I’m sure they didn’t even think about the guy who delivers the special fuel nor the folks who paint the tanks…)

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    Interesting…. from 2006 before the world went Green Insane:

    Not what the title looks like. It is about coal to liquids tech. Claims that’s what Germany used. MIT Plays this up as some new thing they did, but SASOL in South Africa has been doing it for decades. You can “tune” the FT tech for length of hydrocarbon, so anything from Diesel to Jet-A is fairly straight forward to make.

    Coal-Powered Jets
    A new process using jet fuel made from coal could reduce oil dependence, and improve fuel performance in advanced aircraft.
    By Kevin Bullisarchive page
    March 31, 2006

    Researchers have powered a turboshaft jet engine, the type used to drive helicopter rotors, with a coal-based fuel that could eventually replace military and commercial jet fuels, says Harold Schobert, director of the Energy Institute at Pennsylvania State University. The successful development of the coal-based fuel, which was described this week at the American Chemical Society meeting in Atlanta, could also have uses in diesel engines and fuel cells, Schobert says.

    Coal-powered aircraft are not new – Germany used fuels derived from coal to power planes in World War II.
    But the high cost of building production plants to turn coal into liquid fuel has prevented the technology’s widespread use. Now Schobert and colleagues have developed a way to make jet fuel containing as much as 75 percent coal products using existing oil refineries, eliminating the need to build costly new plants – and potentially making coal-derived fuel an economically viable alternative to oil.

    “In the current formulation this would displace half the petroleum, which is very close to the fraction of petroleum that we import. We’ve actually tested, at a smaller scale, 75 percent replacement,” with success, says Schobert.

    Coal, the cheapest of fossil fuels, which also has the steadiest prices,
    is abundant in the United States. John Grasser, a U.S. Department of Energy spokesperson, cites estimates that the amount of recoverable coal in the country is enough for 250-300 years. “You hear a lot about renewables, and certainly renewables have a part to play in making us self sufficient,” says Grasser. “But they’re not going to have an impact on petroleum coming in. You’re going to have to take something like coal, which we have in huge quantities here, and turn it into a petroleum component.”

    Back when engineers did the engineering and decisions were made rationally…

    Not using FT:

    Schobert and his colleagues make the fuel using refined coal oil, which is a byproduct of coke manufacture; the byproduct is mixed at an oil refinery with a product of crude oil called light cycle oil. This mix is then hydrogenated using equipment that already exists at refineries, and then it’s distilled into various products – mostly diesel fuel and jet fuel (about 40 percent of each), as well as some gasoline and heating oil.

    Unless there’s one heck of a lot of coking done this is not going to replace a lot of fuel oils… It is an interesting approach, but you really want to also use all that coke component…

    Oh, wait, they noticed the problem of “inputs”…

    One cost-related problem, however, is that supply of refined coal oil used in the current process is limited, and prices of it would likely go up sharply with increased demand. “Frankly, we’d probably soak up the entire byproduct market, and the folks that sell those byproduct chemicals are not dopes,” says Schobert; “they know what they could do to the price under those circumstances.”

    But that’s what Academic Money Plea Press Releases are all about: “I have this neat and somewhat impractical Theoretical Idea that I want to play with; and it can change the world, if you ignore the lose ends and send me more R&D money!”

  25. jim2 says:

    EMS – I remember those days. There were development continually that made our lives better. Now that Communists are running the US, they are doing what Communists do – suck the value out of everything and everyone.

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like they did make a coal powder powered ram jet engine:

    The P.13a and b were to be powered by powdered coal. The DM-1 was a full-size glider, flown to test the P.12/13a low-speed aerodynamics.

    But how they thought to make a coal jet was not what I expected:

    As conventional fuels were in extremely short supply by late 1944, Lippisch proposed that the P.13a be powered by coal. Lippisch soon came to conclude that this might even be more effective than liquid fuel, as the location of combustion was more precisely controllable. Initially, it was proposed to employ a wire-mesh basket holding even-sized granules of brown coal, placed in the lower region of the internal airflow. The burning coal gave off carbon monoxide (CO) gas which was mixed and combusted with the upper air flow downstream. The arrangement proved inefficient.[1]

    To replace it a spinning circular basket was developed, revolving on a vertical axis at 60 rpm. The hot exhaust would be mixed with cooler bypass air to improve thermodynamic efficiency, before being expelled through the rear nozzle.[1] Other fuels considered promising, due to their ability to generate flammable vapours, included bituminous coal, or pine wood heat-soaked in oil or paraffin. A burner and drum were built and tested successfully in Vienna.

    Very Strange indeed…

  27. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, I’ve noticed that Communists & Socialists (but I repeat myself) have a “One Size Fits All” answer to everything:

    ~”The New Socialist Man will fix everything once we have achieved Socialist Utopia!”

    Never mind such petty details as history, reality, technical limitations, blah blah blah…

    We’ve got to find a way to get this vermin out of power, out of government, and out of our lives; or we’ll not have any lives left fit to live.

  28. jim2 says:

    Well, this is an interesting match-up. Buffet vs. Big Tech. Big Tech is worried Buffet’s pet wind farm will drive up electricity prices for them in Iowa!

  29. Ossqss says:

    Thank you, EM. Your detailed due diligence is very much appreciated. There has been a huge uptick since the last Biden not so true fest, on the airwaves and net. This has and will continue to be shared.

    I still don’t know why nobody actually talks TES. That is the reality from the anticipated fantasy we face. Let’s say “Net Nope” without living in caves.

    Think Hunting and Gathering history with no internet. LOL

    Nobody will touch it on any side of the house. I have asked.

  30. E.M.Smith says:


    Didn’t you see my reply per TES? Not much to say as the graph already says it, and I’ve posted the impossibility of shifting off of all that fossil fuel several dozen times already.

    That’s all I can see to say. Wind & Solar are barely visible and it is impossible to make them big enough in anything under centuries (if ever) such as to replace coal, oil, and natural gas. Only thing with any real hope of success is Nuclear.

    My conclusion is that the Green Dream is not about replacing fossil fuels. It has 2 goals:

    1) Rake in $Hundred $Billion levels of “subsidy” and “reparations” money to the Socialists of the UN and their families and friends. Ditto the Dems & Dims.

    2) Break the western capitalist economies by destroying their reliable power sources and keeping them focused on a fantasy doomed to fail.

    Things are intended to do just what they ARE doing. That’s a fundamental lesson from watching all the crap being pushed from Agenda 21/30 to Climate Change to all the rest.

  31. philjourdan says:

    @Ossqss – re: “not so true”?????

    Are you going PC on us? Call a spade a spade. Since Biden’s last lying fest.

    Anything less is a lie.

  32. Ossqss says:

    @EM, re: TES, not about you, it is about the elephant in the room that no politician or MSN outlet will touch. Let alone the academics in the field espousing the Net Zero BS.

    @Phil, if PC means Pissed Caucasian, then yes :-)

  33. E.M.Smith says:


    So you are surprised that the folks making money off of the fossil fuel banning Climate Scam are not talking about the obvious impossibility of abandoning fossil fuels?… Got it…

  34. Canadian Friend says:

    Remember when Obama saved those he said were too big to fail?

    Well Ford recently lost $ 3 Billion investing in electric cars ( trough the Rivian company )

    and GM is selling in 2022 about 40 times less electric cars than they did before.

    those are only two examples of people who invested mountains of money in ” green” energy and are losing money

    I am sure many democrats a couple years ago invested millions in green energy…and when Trump got elected and made oil price go down those democrats saw their investment crash

    I am wondering if the Biden administration is not cheating and lying and imposing green energy in great part to help their rich friends who are losing money…

  35. David A says:

    “If we all stop driving for two weeks we can flatten the rising curve on gas prices.”
    Joe Biden

  36. stewartpid says:

    Canadian Friend (I’m a canuck too) …. Ford did not lose 3 billion on Rivian stock …. do your proper research and find out the true amount. Ford was carrying the Rivian stock, which Ford got before Rivian went public ie real cheap, on their books in a way that they have to mark to market each quarter and so the 3 billion is a paper profit that they had to declare at the end of the 4th quarter. They then had to write off the 3 billion when Q1 ended and they mark to market again.
    Check out the actual numbers for yourself …. it is easy with the internet … I’m not doing your homework for you.
    Your GM claim is nonsensical simply because of the temporary Bolt sales shut down …. GM has a pile of electric cars, SUVs and trucks coming soon.
    Who knows how they will sell …. likely okay except we seem to have a mild little economic downturn happening.

    Okay I couldn’t help myself …. below is from bloomberg May 13th … Fords purchase price of the 102 million shares is $11.765 each and RIVN is trading at 28.30 as I type. SO NO LOSS!!!!!

    (Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co. sold more shares of Rivian Automotive Inc. Friday, offloading more than $400 million worth of stock in the electric car maker since the end of a lockup this week.
    The US automotive giant sold 7 million shares of Rivian stock at $26.88 each on Friday, according to a filing, cutting its stake in the company to nearly 87 million shares . The transaction follows the sale of 8 million Rivian shares at $26.80 apiece Monday, after selling restrictions on certain insiders and investors ended.
    Ford had invested $1.2 billion in Rivian and saw the value of its stake surge in the wake of the EV maker’s public debut, the largest in the U.S. last year. Since then, however, Rivian’s stock has cratered from a high of $172 in November to touch a low of $19.25 this week.

  37. philjourdan says:

    @David A – STOP IT! I got gall stones and laughing acerbates the problem!

    ROFL-LMAO-Ouch! :-)

  38. David A says:

    Thanks Phil, humor helps!

  39. David A says:

    Pleased to amuse, and glad to share.

  40. philjourdan says:

    Thank you David A! it was worth the pain! :-)

  41. Pingback: World War Woke – With Who’s Oil? | Musings from the Chiefio

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