The various performance-related problems involved with AdBlue that make AdBlue removal a smart move have been compounded in recent months by price increases.
Just as many economic sectors have been hit by inflation due to pressures on supply – everything from gas to shipping crates and, in the UK haulage industry, drivers – the cost of adBlue is going the same way.
As the Motor Transport website reports, the impact of higher gas prices in Europe has directly impacted on the price of AdBlue. The cost of urea has risen with this and had a knock-on effect that has hit hard-pressed hauliers and other diesel users.
This happened because rising gas costs forced some urea production plants to close, cutting the supply and prompting producers to raise their prices. One such firm, Yara increased the cost of its product by 5p a litre in September. It called this a “temporary surcharge” to cover heightened costs, but the ‘temporary’ has proved to be anything but.
So protracted has the situation become that the AdBlue industry is now bracing itself for further increases in price.
Managing director at AdBlue producer GreenChem Solutions Chris Haynes admitted the cost could go up again in February. He remarked: “By October  we thought we had seen a peak in gas, but due to the geopolitics; Russia, Ukraine and Germany with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and other market influences.”
However, he added, the price of gas at that time – €200Mwh – was not the peak at all, but merely a staging post in an upward surge. “The current trend is five times higher than this time last year. This is reflected in the urea prices in the market,” he admitted.
Mr Haynes added that there is an ongoing “restriction in the supply chain” linked to low levels of gas being exported by Russia, meaning AdBlue production continues to be restricted.
It should come as no surprise that Motoring News is reporting that some operators are already cutting or moving away altogether from AdBlue, citing the example of Herts-based Forward Truck Services (FTS), which has switched to a new Mercedes-Benz model that consumes half as much AdBlue as the vehicles were using previously.
FTS managing director Pete Samuel said the move has helped prevent the firm’s AdBlue costs from rising overall.
The problems faced in Europe may get worse as the ongoing Russian troop build-up on the Ukrainian border threatens to escalate geopolitical tensions. However, it is not just in Europe where issues with urea supply have arisen.
Australia has been struggling with urea supplies for months after China slapped an export ban on the substance in order to increase supply and cut fertiliser costs for its own agriculture sector.
While efforts are being made to raise urea production in Australia to compensate, haulage firms faced with the country’s huge journey distances are feeling the pinch of higher prices, with the government investigating whether suppliers are involved in profiteering.
There are fears shortages could see the haulage sector grind to a standstill in the weeks ahead, leading to empty supermarket shelves. In the long run, this may prompt hauliers in Australia to find alternatives to Adlue.