A Cold Winter Ahead for Northeastern U.S.?

Supplies of diesel and heating oil in the Northeastern U.S. are about 50% below average for this time of year.

Since the region is heavily reliant on oil to power the furnaces that heat its many older buildings, this short supply is causing concerns that this winter might see shortages of fuel, price spikes for the limited supplies that do exist, or both. While the U.S. Department of Energy does have a one-million-barrel reserve in the region that could be released if necessary, the continuing war in Ukraine, a harsh winter, or even potential transportation disruptions from an east coast hurricane could all wreak havoc on already short supplies.

While all these factors are obviously real problems, the root problem here is the continuing U.S. reliance on fossil fuels for not only transportation, but also for such basics as home heating and cooking. And the reliance on the so-called market for its pricing and distribution adds another layer of vulnerability for the tens of millions in the region.

While we don’t know what will happen yet, this warning comes with a sense of déja-vu. Remember in 2020 when the market-driven, for-profit health care system didn’t have enough personal protection equipment for even front-line healthcare workers as a global pandemic swept the world? This seems like “Here we go again!”