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Continuing fuel price volatility is here to stay, warns industry expert

MONTREAL, Que. -- If there's one thing certain about future fuel pricing, it's that volatility will persist, Michae...

MONTREAL, Que. — If there’s one thing certain about future fuel pricing, it’s that volatility will persist, Michael Ervin, one the nation’s leading experts on petroleum industry trends warned transportation professionals attending the “Let’s Talk about Volatile Fuel Prices” series of seminars yesterday.

Ervin said that several factors, including lack of spare refining capacity, declining refinery population, a lack of incentive to invest in new refining infrastructure in North America and a declining rate of new oil discoveries are having an distinct impact on supply. Combined with rising global demand for petroleum products, this has made for a very thin margin between the available supply and demand that is easily upset by external factors such as conflicts in oil producing nations or natural disasters that wreak havoc on refining capacity and schedules.

The “Let’s Talk about Volatile Fuel Prices” series of cross-country seminars, co-sponsored by Transportation Media Research and Markel, is designed to examine in detail the reasons behind fuel price volatility and future projections for fuel pricing and the options available to carriers in dealing effectively with the situation.

Ervin, who is widely quoted in the mainstream media, said he does not see any significant change to the supply issues concerning crude and refined products such as gasoline and diesel in the near term. In fact, he sees further pressure on diesel, as refineries move towards producing Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (USLD) to meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s mandate for cleaner truck emissions. The new formulation can be contaminated as it moves through the continental distribution system if it comes in contact with diesel containing higher sulfur content which would mean it could not be sold as USLD, creating the possibility of local shortages.

The “Let’s Talk about Volatile Fuel Prices” series is scheduled to be in Guelph, Ont. May 2 and in Mississauga, Ont. May 4. Later in the month, there is a May 24 date scheduled for Calgary and a May 25 date scheduled for Edmonton.

For more information about the four-hour “Let’s Talk about Volatile Fuel Prices” seminars and when they will be in your area, contact 1-888-MARKEL-1 or e-mail You can also visit

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