Refineries Look at Processing More Diesel Fuel

May 21, 2008 02:48 PM
by Lindsey Chapman
As diesel prices continue to rise and worldwide demand for the fuel keeps growing, oil refiners consider whether to boost diesel production.

30-Second Summary

Refineries have focused on gasoline production for decades, but the changing energy market has them assessing whether they should produce more diesel fuel to take advantage of high demand.

Rising prices have begun curbing demand for gasoline, and U.S. legislation requiring increased ethanol production is expected to reduce gasoline consumption even further in coming years. Meanwhile, countries like China, South Africa, Argentina and others are increasingly relying on diesel to fill energy needs.

Though diesel production has slowed, demand remains high. A “shortage of [diesel] capacity is driving prices far higher than gasoline,” said Terry Slocum, who directs Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization.

While refiners may see opportunity in these prices, it’s proven a serious problem for truckers nationwide, who are struggling to pay for the diesel they use to make a living.

More than 900 trucking companies failed in the first quarter of 2008, which is the largest number of failures since 2001, reported the American Trucking Association.

“I hate to sound disgruntled,” one trucker lamented, “but something has to be done.”

Headline Link: Boosting diesel refining

Background: Why refiners are looking harder at diesel

Gas Prices

Related Topics: Diesel prices hurting truckers

Reference: An explanation of diesel prices


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