The price of gasoline is now above six bucks at my local Valero, which is one of the more affordable stations in this part of San Diego. Diesel is higher, and that’s a problem for truckers and the cost of transporting goods to retailers.
But there is another dimension that I hadn’t considered. Back home in Northern Maine, farmers are planting crops for autumn harvest. My dad reminded me that tractors and other equipment typically run on diesel. Higher costs transporting food is a bad situation, but the spike to grow food is far worse—especially if some smaller farms simply can’t afford to operate.
This May 28, 2022 NPR story lede and two accompanying paragraphs state the problem, regarding diesel:
You know the commercial that says America runs on a certain brand’s coffee and donuts?
In truth, America runs on diesel. Just ask a trucker, a farmer, or a factory owner.
And right now, they are all hurting. That’s because the machines that power their businesses need diesel, which is commanding nosebleed level prices right now. At around $5.50 a gallon, diesel prices are up a whopping 75 percent more than last year and blew past all-time record recently.
Dad says about $7 a gallon where he lives, last week. Gas, where he fills up: $4.75. I haven’t confirmed either price yet.
Meanwhile, many Mainers have furnaces that burn fuel oil. From the U.S. Energy Information Administration: “Three-fifths of Maine’s households use fuel oil as their primary energy source for home heating, a larger share than any other state”.
According to a story from WMTW (via WABI), dateline today: “The average cost of home heating oil in Maine in May of 2021 was $2.55 a gallon. In May of 2022, the cost is more than double at $5.86 a gallon”. Fill up that cellar tank while you can is one takeaway—and “start budgeting now”.
Using a calculator provided by Efficiency Maine, the estimated annual heating cost at the higher price would be $5,650 versus $2,459 at the lower.
The point: All the fuss about higher gas prices, particularly here in Southern California, is pitifully shortsighted compared to the cost of the other types of fuel, whether for airplanes, factories, farm equipment, homes, marine fishing boats, trucks, and more.