11/11/2011 01:23 EST | Updated 01/11/2012 05:12 EST

Diesel supplies falling far short of demand in Nebraska, elsewhere in Midwest, officials say

LINCOLN, Neb. - Gasoline and diesel shortages at fuel terminals in the Upper Midwest have forced fuel truck drivers to sit in line for hours, waiting for fuel to arrive via pipeline.

Other truck drivers have seen diesel prices rise, nearing $4 a gallon in Nebraska and passing that in the Dakotas.

"I've never seen anything like it in my life," Dick Salem, president of Lincoln Trucking Lightning, told the Lincoln Journal Star ( "We went through three big-time shortages in the '70s, and it was never like this."

One of the two fuel terminals south of Lincoln hasn't had diesel fuel for at least a month. When a supply comes in to the other, it runs out in a couple of hours.

"It's as bad as I've ever seen it," said Tom Garner, energy division manager for Farmers Cooperative.

Bruce Heine, spokesman for Magellan Midstream Partners, which owns one of the terminals, blamed the shortage on a combination of factors.

There's been extremely high demand for diesel at the terminals in the northern part of his company's system, Heine said. Much of the demand comes from growth in the region's oil and natural gas industry but there's also seasonal demand from farmers bringing in their crops.

Other reasons include export demand and refineries switching over to winter blends.

"In general, we simply have not received adequate supplies from inventory owners to meet the recent demand," Heine said.

The shortages have helped drive up diesel prices to an average of $3.93 a gallon nationally on Friday, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge survey.

In Nebraska, the survey said, the price was slightly higher at nearly $3.95 a gallon. In North Dakota, it was more than $4.15 a gallon; in South Dakota, nearly $4.06.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star,