According to De Haan, a major factor behind higher diesel prices is Europe's increased reliance on, and jump in demand for, non-Russian oil – for example, from the United States.
"Russia produces a lot of heavy oil and products like diesel," he explains, "and with Europe trying to cut off Russia's flow of products" the demand has gone up. "That [factor] – combined with a loss in refining capacity that the U.S. has experienced over the last few years, partially due to COVID – has made this a particularly challenging situation."
The result, he says, is a very low supply of diesel.
Another factor? Cooler temperatures and an increase in heating oil consumption.
"Heating oil and diesel are very similar molecules; that is, they are essentially the same," says De Hann. "So, we're seeing demand go up into the winter – [and] that, with a strong economy [and] demand higher already compared to where it was last year, has kind of put us in this perfect storm where prices are high, supply is low, and refineries don't have much ability to produce more."
The GasBuddy spokesman also tells AFN the price of diesel doesn't affect just those who drive diesel-powered vehicles.
"The cost of diesel impacts someone when go to the grocery store, when they buy goods online, [and] when they buy things at retail outlets," says De Haan. "All of that moves by semi-truck and diesel. Trains across the country consume diesel [as well]. So, the price is certainly going to impact you the next time you buy goods."
On Wednesday, AAA had the national average for diesel at $5.35, up from $3.64 at this time last year.