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Fuel Shortage Improving But Ongoing

November 14, 2011, 10:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Fuel Shortage Improving But Ongoing
ABERDEEN, SD - A fuel shortage across KELOLAND is improving but it's still ongoing, especially in Northeast South Dakota. And until it comes to an end, it could be costing the consumer.

Whether you've noticed it or not, both diesel and gas have been hard to come by this fall. Fuel suppliers are calling it one of the worst shortages they can remember.

"I ordered a load of gas a few days ago and they were out of that.  So, just sit in line, waiting in line for the next load," Dave Ortmeier said.

Ortmeier has fuel stations in Mellette and Chelsea, South Dakota.

Numerous factors have contributed to the shortage of fuel making its way through pipelines to terminals in South Dakota and surrounding states. As a result, transport trucks have been waiting hours or driving long distances to get fuel elsewhere.

That leads to extra costs which can find their way to the consumer. Ortmeier figures an average of five to ten cents a gallon has been passed to his customers.

"It has to, otherwise, we wouldn't make any money," Ortmeier said.

Suppliers are saying there is more fuel available now but the shortage is ongoing. The director of South Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association can't give a definite timeline, but says it could continue for another month.

Ortmeier is anxious to see it end. Those going through extra work to pick up fuel and deliver it to stations are, no doubt, anxious to see it end too.

"If they bring in 40 loads, there's 40 trucks right there to take it out. So it's pretty frustrating for all of us," Ortmeier said.

The ending harvest takes some pressure off the demand for diesel.  But there have been other factors contributing to the shortage.

The South Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association points to diesel demand in the North Dakota oil fields and a couple refineries shutting down at the same time to switch from one type of fuel to another.

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