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A slowdown at Petro-Canada's refinery in Edmonton has helped to fuel a diesel shortage in Alberta. (CBC)

The shortage of diesel in Alberta is taking a toll on companies that use heavy equipment.

For the past two weeks, companies such as Whitecourt Transport Inc. located northwest of Edmonton have been scrambling to find enough fuel to keep vehicles running.

The shortage was caused by a slowdown at an Edmonton-based Petro-Canada refinery.

Dave MacNevin, operations manager for the Whitecourt-based trucking company, said the constant wait for fuel is costly.

"A conservative number would be probably three to four hours a day of manpower being wasted, ... at a 150 bucks an hour for the truck you’re looking at a $600-a-day waste of money," he said.              

The slowdown was reportedly caused by a lack of a fuel additive, but MacNevin says Petro-Canada has told him that things will start returning to normal as early as Saturday.               

The diesel delay has also left Dave Lloyd of Edmonton-based Big Stone Forestry wondering how long he can continue to operate two logging companies in the northern Alberta wilderness.

"We need at least 5,000 gallons a week for each logging company and right now we're getting basically half that and we're starting to ramp down operations," he said.

"I'm having to continuously call the supplier and ask him if I should bring a full crew or if we're going to have to suspend operations."

Petro-Canada’s parent company Suncor was unavailable for comment.