Lack Of Truck Drivers Could Cause Gas Shortages This Summer

By Bill Galluccio

April 27, 2021

If you plan to go on a road trip this summer, you can expect to see higher gas prices and might even have issues finding a station to fill up your tank. While there is no shortage of crude oil or gasoline, there are not enough qualified truck drivers to transport the fuel to gas stations.

According to CNN, the National Tank Truck Carriers said that between 20% and 25% of the tanker trucks in the U.S. are sitting idle heading into the summer.

"We've been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it," Ryan Streblow, the executive vice president of the NTTC, told CNN. "It certainly has grown exponentially."

The shortage was caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic. As offices and businesses closed down, people were traveling less, and the demand for gasoline plummeted. Stuck without work, many older truck drivers decided to retire, while younger ones left the profession or started hauling regular freight.

In order to haul a gas tanker, truck drivers need a special certification, in addition to a commercial driver's license. Finding new truck drivers or getting experienced drivers certified is not an easy task because many truck driving schools were closed during the pandemic.

If even a small number of stations run out of gas, it could cause a ripple effect as drivers may begin to hoard gasoline.

"Imagine the hoarding with toilet paper and topping off of gas tanks that we see after hurricanes, and you can see what might happen," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service.

A few weeks ago, drivers in Las Vegas were surprised to find many Chevron stations had run out of gas as they struggled to keep up with the rising demand.

Photo: Getty Images

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