As millions of Americans hope for a summer vacation, another pandemic-related agitation has cropped up.
Turns out the road trip to Wally World may come with more than just the usual challenges because of gas shortages.
In a twist, though, it’s not an actual shortage of fuel; it’s a shortage of truck drivers able to deliver that fuel to its targets – the gas stations.
And those tanker-truck drivers need specialized skills, so there is a need for training and practical experience to solve the problem.
According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, 20% to 25% of tank trucks in the fleet are parked. That’s quite an increase over 2019, when only 10% were sitting idle for that reason.
“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, said in a CNN story. “It certainly has grown exponentially.”
The pandemic caused many drivers to walk away from the industry with lockdowns and closures of businesses – including tanker-truck driving schools.
This could affect everyone from from vacationers to drivers to the local, roadside Circle K.
CNN talked to Jeff Lenard, spokesman at the National Association of Convenience Stores, who knows what happens if demand outstrips supply.
“I’ve talked to retailers, they say there could be places where there are brief outages,” he said. “If they have no fuel, they have no business. People aren’t going to stop in for a sandwich if you don’t have fuel.”
The national average for a gallon of regular gas is way up, predictably, from 2020, standing at $2.89, and industry experts have said $3 per gallon this summer would not be surprising.