Mansfield wishes all its readers a safe and restful Martin Luther King Jr. Day this Monday. FUELSNews will resume on Tuesday, January 16th.
Get ready for a polar plunge this weekend, following wintery weather that’s been hitting various parts of the country for the past week. Although there’s been no impact on fuel operations yet, record-breaking cold may cause delays – or at least put your winter fuel strategy to the test.
Cold weather is making its way downwards from Canada into the US, currently tracking over the Northern Plains. While Canadian diesel fuel is automatically winterized in anticipation of cold weather, US diesel fuel is susceptible to gelling at lower temperatures. Analysts expect that new record-lows could be set in the coming weeks, first impacting the Pacific Northwest, then the Midwest. Wind chill could drop temperatures even lower, sending the Northern Plains as low as -40° or -50° F.
The potentially record-breaking cold will begin this weekend and extend into early next week as the storm shifts across the US. Forecasters also expect chillier-than-usual weather to last for the remainder of January, so make sure your equipment is prepared to last the next few weeks in frigid conditions.
Along with extreme cold, a system named Winter Storm Gerri by the Weather Channel is sweeping the US, bringing blizzard warnings in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. The National Weather Service in Iowa noted that this level of storm occurs just “once or twice per decade.”
How Markets Are Responding
Across the nation, states of emergency have been declared to prepare for the impending weather. North Carolina went to an emergency level on Monday, waiving hours of service requirements for trucks transporting essential goods. New Jersey and Florida followed the same day, and Kansas’s governor verbally declared a state of emergency.
On Tuesday, Iowa declared a state of disaster emergency for heating oil, waiving certain requirements for delivering fuel within the state, while Maryland’s governor declared a “State of Preparedness” to marshal resources aimed at addressing the coming snowy weather.
What does this mean for fuel supply?
Mansfield does not foresee any direct impact on fuel operations at this time, but supply and operations personnel are working with local terminals and carriers to assess the situation. Wintery weather, blizzard conditions, and icy roads may make fuel deliveries hazardous in some areas until the cold weather passes or snow equipment can clear the affected zones.
For winter operability, many parts of the country will experience unseasonably cold weather, so consider increasing your winter diesel operability preparedness. If you normally use additized diesel, consider adding kerosene as well. If you do not treat your fuel due to living in a southern climate, work with your fuel supplier to determine if a cold flow additive is needed. Areas where additives and kerosene are already in use may consider increasing the percentage of kerosene (also known as diesel #1) in their fuel.