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CHS fuels expert advises farmers to fill tanks now

A fuels expert says farmers should make sure they will have enough gas and diesel for planting season now.

Jason Schwantz is the Senior Vice President of Refined Fuels for CHS. He says, “If you look at what COVID and the pandemic has done to the refineries, they’re throttled back a little bit and I think if demand picks up, it could get a little tighter in the springtime.”

Schwantz tells Brownfield prices have been going up lately, and he expects that to continue.  He says with the pandemic, demand for gas and diesel fuel bottomed out but he sees more optimism now with the vaccine rollout.  Schwantz says he’s watching what the Biden administration does to reduce carbon emissions and improve sustainability. “That also can put some increased pressure on prices because in order to do that, there usually is some dollars that either the refiners or the government will have to throw behind it and thus we could see some higher prices.”

And, Schwantz says the refiners are watching corn prices. “If corn prices take off, you know, a lot more than the oil price does, that can make it a little bit more difficult situation for both refiners and for ethanol producers.”

Schwantz says with many refineries running at reduced capacity, there might be a supply problem if demand spikes in the spring at planting time.

As for prices, Schwantz doesn’t believe they will jump dramatically, but they will stair step upwards. “I think we’ll see that $2.50 to $2.75 range on gasoline this summer with probably diesel in that $3.00 to $3.25 range.”

Schwantz says if farmers are able, now is the time to top off the tanks for spring field work.  He does not advise filling propane tanks yet, as he expects reasonable rates for summer fill-ups.

Jason Schwantz at CHS discusses fuel supplies and prices with Brownfield’s Larry Lee 1/27/21.

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