As families this summer pile into the car and head out on the highway, finding a place to fill up might be tougher than usual. There will not be a shortage of gasoline. It’s just a question of getting it to the station as quickly as consumers want it. That’s because there aren’t enough certified tanker truck drivers right now to deliver all the gas that stations may need.
The industry had been facing a shortage a driver shortage even before the pandemic, according to the National Tank Truck Carriers Organization. Last year, with fuel prices dropping, many drivers were laid off.
Enter 2021; things have rebounded, demand is up and those delivery drivers in many cases, still gone.
Fuel tankers require drivers to have more training and certifications than standard trucks but many driving schools were shut down because of COVID-19, so hiring new drivers may take time.
Up to 25% of tankers are currently sitting idle.
This summer, analysts say some tourist destinations may have trouble keeping up like Orlando Florida with Walt Disney World, Yosemite, Yellowstone, some of those areas don’t have enough truck drivers to meet what could be a very high demand gasoline summer
According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of gas is $2.89, up from just $1,77 a year ago.
Also driving up prices: businesses and entertainment venues reopening and traffic jams coming back with them.
For drivers, a downside of “return to normal” is more cars on the road, and more dollars going into the tank.