Fleet Ops: Fuel Efficiency
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Fuel capacity nowhere to go but up as refinery running again
TORONTO -- Ontario drivers are expected to see more available fuel at service stations across the province over the next week, but truckers may have to wait until the middle of the month before diesel output levels are back to normal. Yesterday Imperial Oil fired up its Nanticoke, Ont. refinery that was damaged in a blaze on Feb. 15. The company's atmospheric and vacuum unit, which processes crude oil, has been repaired, reports Canadian Press, but the plant is currently operating at only about 50 percent capacity.

Car drivers might see service stations topped up by next week,
but truckers in some areas have 'not seen the worst yet.'
"Recent apportionments to customers of distillate fuel and gasoline are easing but limitations are still in place as the refining system rebalances and transportation logistics improve," the company said in a release. "All efforts are being made to secure additional supply … but the industry supply situation in Ontario remains very tight." The company says it is still sorting how it will ration gasoline and diesel output, the latter of which usually accounts for about one-third of total production. However, some reports suggest gasoline production could be at full capacity by this weekend or early next week. With home heating being the likely priority for distillates, diesel customers and truckers -- while feeling some incremental relief in the next week -- might not see some smaller stations or their own bulk storage tanks topped up until the second week of the month. The Ontario Trucking Association says that although it hasn't received reports from members who have been forced to park their trucks, it said "we have not seen the worst of it yet." To date, Esso stations have experienced the most severe shortages. At one point a quarter of its stations were closed. But Shell Canada and Petro have also had dozens of stations running on empty. The latter company says it deliberately closed about 25 stations at one point or another in order to redirect available fuel to larger service facilities GTA. The supply crunch was made worse by a strike by CN workers, as all fuel suppliers had trouble finding transportation capacity in bringing in fuel from other parts of Canada and the U.S. But even with workers now back on the job for five days under a tentative agreement, its questionable just how much relief U.S. facilities could provide as refining capacity down south is also tight and it has its own markets to serve. -- with files from Canadian Press
 
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