Story at a glance
- Gas stations could face a fuel shortage this summer.
- While there isn’t a shortage of gasoline, there is a shortage of the truckers who transport it.
- The shortage in tank truckers could lead to gasoline outages and increased prices.
Summer is right around the corner, and as people get ready to head to the beach or set out on road trips, they might find themselves facing a roadblock: no gas.
While there isn’t a shortage of actual gasoline, there is a shortage of the truckers who transport it.
“We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it,” Ryan Streblow, executive vice president of National Tank Truck Carriers, told CNN.
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When the pandemic began and lockdowns ensued, many people weren’t on the road, causing a decrease in the need for gasoline. Compounding the issue is older drivers who took the pandemic as a sign to go into retirement.
And not just anyone can drive a gasoline tanker, which requires a certification and hours of training. Lockdowns nationwide put a pause on certification classes, only adding to the driver deficit.
At this time in 2019, only 10 percent of tank trucks were stuck in park due to a short supply of drivers. Now, according to National Tank Truck Carriers, that number has reached 20 to 25 percent.
To offset the deficit, tanker employers have had to increase their rates, which, combined with the heightened demand, could lead to higher gas prices amid the shortage.
Tourist hubs are at the biggest risk of shortages, with areas such as Florida and Arizona already having experienced minor incidences of it during the spring break season.
The national average gas price has already reached $2.89 a gallon, up 60 percent from this time last year. Experts believe that this summer the national average could hit $3 a gallon.
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