We Could be Headed for a Gas Shortage This Summer
With many people expected to head out on road trips this summer, gas could be in short supply.
The problem isn’t a lack of gasoline. It’s actually the result of a shortage of tanker truck drivers, according to Fox 23.
Ryan Streblow, the Executive Vice President of the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) trade group said that while the industry has been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, the coronavirus pandemic has made things much worse:
We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it. It certainly has grown exponentially.
In 2019, there were about 10% of tanker trucks that were sitting idle due to a shortage of drivers. Nowadays that number is somewhere between 20% and 25%.
Demand for gasoline dropped sharply while people were locked down during the coronavirus pandemic, forcing many tanker truck drivers to quit their jobs.
To compensate for the shift in consumption, Oklahoma tanker company Groendyke switched from hauling gasoline to hauling boxes for Amazon. Holly McCormick, vice president at Groendyke told CNN many drivers didn’t want to deal with COVID-19 safety protocols, so a lot of older drivers went ahead and retired:
A lot of drivers didn't want to do the safety protocols. We're also working with an aging work force. Many said 'I might as well take it as a cue to retire.'
Combine that with the fact that truck driving schools were closed during the pandemic - meaning no new drivers are prepared to immediately take retiring drivers places - and it’s going to be a while before the workforce returns to pre-pandemic levels.