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Are We Going to Run Out of Diesel and DEF Fluid?

Learn about if we are going to run out of diesel and DEF fluid, and if you need to worry about it.

Episode 213: Recently we’ve been seeing a lot of videos where individuals in the trucking industry are talking about the upcoming shortage of diesel fuel and DEF fluid. However, are these claims true, and if so, what can we do about it?

Are We Going to Run Out of Diesel and DEF Fluid?

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Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You’re listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost-per -mile.

Are we going to run out of diesel fuel, diesel engine oil and DEF fluid? I’ve been seeing a lot of videos lately, on places like TikTok and other streaming video services, where individuals from the trucking industry, these are legitimate people. They work at repair shops, or they work at fleets or they’re in product supply companies or distributors. And they’re posting videos talking about this upcoming shortage that is going to intensify. Now they make two claims and, the claims are basically one that there is a special diesel additive package that there’s only two companies that make these diesel additive packages and all the other oil producing companies, all the other DEF fluid producing companies, they buy these additives from just these two companies and these two companies have run out. So that’s the first assertion. And the second assertion is, is that they are not going to be able to produce the additives for at least a year.

And if those two assertions are true, then we have to think about what the implications would be. So you can imagine running out of diesel fuel, shutting down the trucking industry. You can imagine if engine oil became unavailable, you could run longer, you could extend the intervals, but of course, that would do a lot of damage to engines, especially if you didn’t do an oil change for a year. And again, if DEF fluid ran out, then of course, diesel emission systems rely on DEF fluid. Now some people use water, but what happens if you work in a cold climate and that freezes, and certainly that’s not recommended anyway. So these videos, you know, they’re scary because if what these people are saying is true and we did run out of any one of those things, you know, we could make, we could make do, we could survive and keep trucks running.

If there was a shortage of DEF fluid, again, with engine oil, we could extend engine oil, service intervals, and we could use up existing product that we have on the shelf or in our own stock. Um, so it’s not that that would shut the industry down immediately, but obviously if you ran out of diesel fuel, I mean, within days we would completely shut down. And I don’t know if you remember, but in the past we did an episode about what would happen if the trucking industry stopped. And this is research that was put forth by the trucking industry. And it came from a couple sources. I saw it from, I believe the American Trucking Association put something out. I also saw it from our sponsors over at HDA truck pride. And I saw this same document kind of circulating about a year ago.

And it really, it really showed that our society’s reliance on the trucking industry is absolutely critical that we keep trucks rolling because within just three days, you know, things like, like, um, medicine at hospitals, oxygen would run out and people would start, unfortunately would start passing away. And that would be tragic. And then, and then food shortages would kick in. And obviously society would start to devolve into a bit of anarchy when that starts to happen. And what was shocking is that within 30 days we basically see the collapse of society. If trucks aren’t able to deliver the things we need, right? Food, energy, clothing, medicine, those kinds of, of things that we rely on. I mean, nevermind all the retail goods that we are accustomed to in our lifestyle.

So when I see these videos, it definitely is worrisome. And but at the same time, you know, when you look at the news and you look at what is going on with shortages, it’s not inconceivable that these kinds of shortages could occur. And these severe shortages could really, really put the hurt on the trucking industry and on society at large. But the big question is, is it true, right? It is it, first of all, is it true that only two companies globally produce the additive packages needed to make things like engine oil, diesel engine oil, or DEF fluid or diesel fuel. So is that true? And the second thing is, have they run out and will they be unable to produce it for at least a year? Are these two things true? Well, it’s tough to really get to the bottom of that.

When you Google about additive packages, you get a real mixture of responses. And, you know, I found one business wire article that talked about the top five additive producers in the world, but is that specifically additives for diesel? Right? It was unclear. And I do know from my past in manufacturing, that oftentimes there are certain items that are only produced by a handful of companies globally. And then all of the other companies buy those materials from them, and then further, you know use those materials to produce other goods. So it is conceivable that there are a limited number of companies that produce certain additives needed, but is it likely that, like, for example, in the one video I saw, they said that Chevron in this other company were the only two companies in the world that did it, is it likely that that a company like Shell is reliant on Chevron for their additives?

Like, I don’t think so. So what I’ve done is I’ve reached out to the main oil producer companies. I’ve reached out to their media departments. I’ve asked for a comment on this, and as soon as I get any feedback at all, I will share that with you. We’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back. Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Go to parts.diesellaptops.com, or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account. Looking for high-quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Having one supplier for fuel injection allows you to better serve customers by providing them with a complete line, which increases your sales and profitability. Learn more at ambacinternational.com/aftermarket. I think the reason that I went ahead and made this live stream, and we’re gonna republish this on our podcast.

And the reason I wanted to talk about this subject is, is that there is a lot wrong with the world right now, right? We have geopolitical instability. We are coming out of a global pandemic. We have inflation. We are probably entering into a recession. Money’s getting more expensive with interest rates going up. And there are shortages that are impacting the trucking industry. And this is impacting our ability to do our very important work, to support society at large. So there’s a lot to be anxious about, but then when you get these almost, I don’t, I’m not gonna say that they’re conspiracy theory, but when you get these people who hear something and they maybe haven’t thought it all the way through, or they haven’t done their research, or they haven’t fact checked everything and they just repeat it, right. And then one person hears that and then they repeat it, they repeat it.

And that’s how these, these sensationalized stories start to go viral. For example, the one video that I saw, the first one it’s gotten over a million views, and this is from a truck repair shop in the Dakotas, over a million views on TikTok. And the man speaks with authority like he has inside information that the rest of us need to hear. And so is that what we need right now though? And if it’s not true or if only part of what he’s saying is true, and it’s not, as, it’s not as dire as he lays out in his video that’s a million people now who have increased anxiety for something that isn’t even real. So I think we need to get to the bottom of these kinds of things. I think it’s good for us to have these open conversations about it.

I think it’s very important that we fact check, that we do our due diligence before we repeat something I’ve been guilty of it. We, you know, probably you’ve been guilty of it too, but right now with how critical the situation is globally, we don’t need any extra anxiety-inducing information. We need facts, we need truth, and we need to be balanced about the way that we approach what we see online, what we hear. It’s probably a good idea to slow down right now. Don’t be so quick to share something that you haven’t, you know, really thoroughly checked out yourself. Take the time to do your research, look to trusted sources, to try to find the accurate information. And also don’t overreact to headlines that create anxiety, because I would say that many times, those headlines are specifically designed to give you that emotional response.

So you’ll click and you’ll read, and that’s all based on advertising revenue. And as a media producer, and as a content producer who relies on advertising, I get the inclination to want to get more views. But at the end of the day, we want to get our information from reputable sources that are well researched, fact checked that assertions made can be backed up with evidence. And that a balanced view is being, is being brought forward. So to recap, are we going to run out of diesel fuel? Are we gonna run out of diesel engine oil? Are we gonna run out DEF fluid? Is there only two companies in the world making the additives needed for those products? And are they out of production and will in one, you know, will they not be able to continue production for at least a year?

Are we on the precipice of all of this? These are the assertions of these videos. I’m saying I can find no conclusive evidence to support that, but at the same time, I have yet to receive word back from the companies who actually make these products. I just reached out to them today. I went to all of their media departments and reached out to them. We will see what information we get back. We will continue, you know, at The Heavy-Duty Parts Report to research this and any information we can get about this, we’re going to share with you. And we also have made some invitations to some oil producing companies to come on the show. One in particular, who has shown interest in being on the show, we’ve reached out to them and invited them on the show. This is the kinds of questions I’m gonna be asking them.

And I promise you I’ll do everything I can to get you the information you need so that you can make wise decisions. Because obviously the implications of all of this is if there is gonna be shortages, you should stock up. Right. But if we stock up and we then, just like with the pandemic, with toilet paper, you know, and then all of a sudden there’s a run on a product, and then there is a shortage. So is the shortage real or did we manufacture it? Well, we don’t wanna be manufacturing any additional shortages by panic buying behavior. So we need the right information to make these decisions. Thank you so much for tuning in. I really appreciate you watching and we will talk to you very soon.

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