Gasoline and diesel prices are hitting record-painful new highs every single day, and there doesn’t seem to be a true end in sight. But our leaders, for lack of a better word, are trying to fix that. According to CNN, in response to the extremely high prices, President Joe Biden may release some of the country’s oil reserves to be used in cars and trucks, which could boost supply.
It’s not as simple as just turning on the taps to allow more diesel to come out, however. The United States doesn’t stockpile refined gasoline and diesel like it does with crude oil. The reason is, that gas and diesel do not last very long in that refined state, and would likely expire much sooner than they could be used.
Instead, the oil that could be made available is from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, which is obviously used to heat homes, and not usually used to power vehicles. The federal government has kept a stockpile of home heating oil since 2000, primarily in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The oil is almost identical to diesel, although it is lacking a few additives that are present in the diesel that would be put in your truck. Just like farm gas, the oil is dyed red to differentiate it from the standard.
In order to release the oil into the market for use in vehicles, some laws would have to be modified. For one, the oil isn’t taxed, which means there would be a significant price difference between it and real diesel, but the fines for improperly using it are likely greater than the savings. In addition, the IRS can come after your tax exemptions, which will really ruin your day.
If the government does decide to release the oil, however, it could quite literally flood the market enough to bring the price of diesel fuel back down to an acceptable level, hopefully at least for long enough until everything else in the automotive universe is sorted out. That means trucks will have lower operating costs to deliver things, and should theoretically keep prices of everyday goods such as groceries and essentials within reasonable parameters.