Neil Chatterjee, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, told Newsmax on Wednesday that if the reports of a looming diesel shortage are true, then "it would be a huge problem."
"Think about what vehicles most utilize diesel: It's trucks," Chatterjee said during an appearance on Newsmax's "The Chris Salcedo Show." "Think about the importance of our trucking fleet — not just to the American economy, but to our everyday lives. Everything gets transported by truck, by rail. If we have a genuine diesel crisis, it's going to lead to further increases in the cost of goods like groceries."
Bloomberg reported last week that the U.S. has just 25 days of diesel supply, which is the lowest since 2008, while the four-week rolling average of distillates supplied — a key measure of demand — hit its highest seasonal level since 2007.
Coming just two weeks ahead of the midterm elections, the diesel shortage has the potential to wallop already hurting consumers who put inflation and the economy at the top of their list of voting issues.
This is a particularly bad time of year to run out diesel fuel, according to Chatterjee.
"As we approach the holidays, all those Christmas presents that need to get delivered to beat Santa to the tree?" he asked. "Going to be a problem if there's a diesel shortage."
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee found President Joe Biden has drained the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by nearly 40% in 20 months — more than all other U.S. presidents in history combined.
Chatterjee told host Chris Salcedo that people need to understand the purpose of the reserve.
"It is a national security reserve," he said. "To drain it for political gain to attempt to shave maybe a penny off the price at the pump ahead of the midterm elections — and let's be honest, that's what this is all about — is really reckless, and it's playing games and not being honest with the American people."
The real question, Chatterjee said, is why isn't the U.S. "focused on domestic energy exploration and production?
"I'll tell you why we're not: It's because the environmental base is pushing the Biden administration away from resource extraction here at home," he said.
"Here's the irony," Chatterjee continued. "We do it cleaner and better than anyone else in the world. If the Biden administration actually focused on developing energy here at home and not relying on foreign sources from our adversaries, not only would it be better for our security, for our economy, but also for the environment."
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