Recall, if you’ve seen them, those stark comparisons of communist North Korea and much freer South Korea at night, images showing the brilliantly lit south and the abyssal black of the north, that testify to how collectivism can take formerly united, culturally similar populations – people now merely split by arbitrary political borders – and cast half of them into the dark world of poverty and privation.
Many of us, surely, showed the shot (or shots) to friends, trying to demonstrate how political collectivism retards economic growth, threatens living standards, and makes the fundamental economics of supply and demand impossible to work. Though it reflected cold homes in the winter, hot homes in the summer, medical centers lacking sufficient power, and sundry other tragic obstacles for the North Korean residents, we might have seen the power problem, and the attendant troubles, as distant – tragic consequences of state controls, yes, but, thankfully, something that Americans avoided.
Sadly, that is not the case. While many Americans marched on with their lives, trying to prosper in the ever-dwindling sphere of economic freedom we still had, the agents of government and politics were sneaking up on us, adding cog after cog to the ever-growing machine of command-and-control edicts, prohibitions, and so-called “regulations” that work against free market choice and freedom in general.
Now, after months of warnings, the Diesel shortage has arrived.
The Last Refuge connects readers to two reports from the southeastern U.S. – North Carolina and Kentucky – where stations are beginning to run out.
WNCT A CBS TV affiliate in North Carolina, warns that Mansfield Energy (headquartered in Gainesville, Georgia) issued a shortage alert last week, and, writes WNCT’s Rodney Overton:
“On Friday, Mansfield noted there was a ‘small increase for inventories’ but ‘not enough of a build to change the current diesel supply challenges.’
Last week, Mansfield said Tennessee was having ‘particularly acute challenges.’”
And the lack of fuel at some pumps leads to increased delivery time and increased fuel usage to find fuel:
“Low supplies make it difficult to find the fuel quickly, which means trucks have to visit several terminals and ‘strains local trucking capacity,’ the company said.
The low supplies also mean an increase in prices for diesel. On Friday, diesel prices opened up 10 cents for the week, Mansfield said.”
Overton also notes the year-to-year difference between Diesel prices in “the southeast.”
“$5.183 per gallon, according to the U.S. EIA. A year ago, diesel prices were just $3.63 per gallon.”
Footage posted to TikTok last week from one trucker offers visual evidence of the shortage at pumps:
“Small town, rural, Dearborn, North Carolina. No Diesel. No Diesel. I’ve never in my lifetime seen this happen. And I thought all this ’25 days of Diesel left in America’ was a bunch of bs. That’s two stores, right here in my little small town, ain’t got no Diesel fuel. Truckers are scavenging, can’t find fuel. There’s not fuel for, probably, fifty miles around here.”
The shortage is arriving, it will blast apart what is left of the already-government-strangled supply chains for virtually everything. And not only is the fuel shortage not necessary, it would not be occurring in a truly free market.
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Thanks to more than a century of government claims of “control” over everything from the land and seas where many drillers might want to drill, to recent blockages of domestic fuel exploration, domestic oil and gas transfer capacity, and blocks of increased oil refining capacity, and recent “sanctions” against Russian energy imports (really sanctions against U.S.), the central government has laid each brick in our prison, such that this is one facet of a dangerous shortage in many kinds of food, oil, gasoline, kerosine, natural gas, and coal here in the States.
Oh, and on that last factor, despite coal being plentiful in many states, and also being a proven provider of energy that could be revivified if the feds would simply leave consumers and potential providers alone, President “It’s-Not-My-Fault” Biden Friday attacked coal and your temerity for even thinking that it might be a good idea to let people be free to mine for it, buy it, and sell it for fuel, noting, in his inimitable way, “(W)e're going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar power."
That comes on the heels of his former boss, Barack Obama, using the constitution-insulting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate out of existence large swaths of the mining and coal-burning electricity provision industry. MRCTV supporters will recall the detailed documentary that MRCTV Director Eric Scheiner released six years ago covering the political attacks on coal. As Brittany Huges -- MRCTV Editor, and Executive Producer of the film, “Collateral Damage: Forgotten Casualties in The Left’s War on Coal,” – noted at the time:
“This is not just an attack on coal. Coal is the first one. It’s the first one. But this is an attack on fossil fuels and this country. At least with the technology we have right now, we can’t run off of windmills and solar panels unless everybody just wants to cover the entire country in them, and even then I’m not sure that it would be effective enough…”
And if the free market – i.e. LIBERTY – existed in the U.S., not only would people be able to choose for themselves, avoiding the anger, bickering, and time-waste of political wrangling and bureaucratic maze-running, they would be able to send potential providers of coal, natural gas, gasoline, and Diesel the price signals necessary to properly allocate resources (labor, money, time, physical resources) to the increased provision of the fuels. Instead, we see the culmination of a problem that goes back to the unabashedly unconstitutional 1906 Antiquities Act, which started the feds taking over vast swaths of land inside states and then claiming the power to “lease” bits of those lands for various purposes, such as oil, coal, or natural gas exploration.
And, even without the government land-grabs, private landowners are hobbled by the EPA. As Andy Uhler noted for Marketplace in August, mobster-like EPA “regulations” prohibit all kinds of activity on private lands, or require highly expensive “environmental” considerations that have nothing to do with any actual damage that might have been caused to the property or lives of others. The EPA hands private landowners “a-priori” commands they must follow, which is lightyears away from the original concept of property ownership and the idea that only AFTER a property owner brings harm against another is the owner supposed to pony-up for damages.
But our freedom to handle any real claims through Common Law and to handle any potential liabilities through market-tested insurance rates and payouts are distant memories in the U.S. The politicians have replaced them with are array of “bogeymen” and prohibitions, permission slips, and blame-gaming.
These signals from the southeast are just the start. Uhler’s report notes that supply chain problems also play a part in private oil suppliers to get product to the limited refineries that will be able to make Diesel. They need pipes, cables, and all manner of physical tools to keep their private operations running, and, thanks to Joe Biden, the supplies of those are short.
Just like some of us might describe our patience with command-and-control economics, which has been shown to have failed everywhere it’s been tried, and filed everyone who has had to suffer under its yolk.
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