Tanker truck drivers are in short supply.
Just a few weeks ago, we reported on a cyberattack that was causing the east coast to run out of gas, but it was quickly resolved. However, this weekend we may struggle to find gas once again. The reason is not a shortage of gas itself but rather a shortage of tanker truck drivers who deliver that gas to the pumps. This is exacerbated by the fact that this is the Fourth of July weekend, so demand for gas increases while the number of drivers who are available to deliver the gas is decreasing. This is according to Gary Langston, president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association who says that hundreds of gas trucks in Indiana alone are sitting idle, including 150 from just one fleet.
Auto club AAA's director of communication Jeanette McGee mirrored these concerns: "There is ample gas in the United States, but what we're seeing in some of these markets is bagged pumps, because with this shortage of drivers, fuel deliveries are delayed."
She went on to recommend that drivers refuel when their tanks are down to a quarter and not risk travelling much further. But why is there a shortage of truck drivers? Well, the pandemic is partly to blame. A number of drivers have moved on to other jobs where truck driving pays more, and some schools that train these drivers have shut.
Combined with the fact that Americans are looking to enjoy summer road trips more than ever as they emerge from lockdowns, demand for gas during this time is increasing too. To try resolve the issue, companies like Summa Energy in New York are trying to lure in new drivers with premium wages, signing bonuses, and flexible working hours. Sadly, the problem is not going away anytime soon. This is according to Craig Fuller of FreightWaves, a logistics data company, who says that we will not see relief until the first quarter of 2022. Been eying that Tesla Model 3? Now might be the right time to take the leap.