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On July 15, 2022, Jim Walz, the Governor of Minnesota, issued a declaration suspending the hours-of-service regulations in regards to the hauling of various petroleum-based fuels.
The entire problem is a logistics Catch-22, as truckers needing to haul fuels such as diesel and gasoline need diesel to haul them. Governor Walz hopes that by enacting a State of Emergency, truckers will be able to deliver more fuel than they normally would, and the state economy will be able to operate more effectively.
The news of the declaration comes off the heels of the temporary closure of an oil refinery in St. Paul Park, Minnesota, which has a capacity for processing 105,000 barrels of crude oil every day. The refinery is closed for scheduled maintenance, and as such Governor Walz expects the emergency to not last long, expiring August 14th.
The provided exemptions are typical: a trucker hauling fuels such as diesel, gasoline, ethanol, and others that does not feel fatigued may drive beyond the typical hours-of-service time range until they either complete the delivery or feels exhausted. When either of these circumstances happens and the trucker is out of their hours-of-service, he or she must take a ten-hour consecutive break regardless of how he or she feels.
The declaration also mentions regulations that it does not cover. Drivers are expected to be fully licensed and insured, with their vehicles properly maintained.
In the interim, fuel prices in Minnesota are expected to suffer a slight price bump, as over a million gallons of diesel fuel every day that otherwise would be processed within state borders is no longer happening. Our advice to you if you are planning to partake in helping with fuel relief or are simply planning to drive through Minnesota is to maximize your tank outside of the state before driving into the North Star State.
While fuel prices have been on a slow decline in the past few weeks, they are still far above what they were a year ago. It is possible that other states may follow suit in declaring a State of Emergency to help get more fuel in America’s motor vehicles.
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