Even after a year on from its initial onset, the coronavirus pandemic continues to make itself felt across the globe. It continues to cost folks their lives, and has done no favors for the majority of business operations. We’ve been left to watch as the auto industry essentially grinds to a halt as a result of the global semiconductor chip shortage, with no real end in sight. Now though, it appears that vehicle inventory across the country won’t be the only issue facing drivers as we move into the summer. According to a new report from CNN, we may soon be facing a spike in gas prices across the United States. Contrary to what you might think however, this isn’t a supply-driven gas shortage. Instead, it all boils down to the lack of tanker trucks and truck drivers out on the roads.
40,000-60,000 Truck Drivers Needed
According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, some 20-25 percent of tanker trucks are currently out of service, as the industry struggles with a lack of qualified truck drivers here in the United States. This figure is double what it was back in 2019, with the pandemic playing a role in several of the underlying factors. More specifically, the initial drop in demand for fuel in the early stages of the pandemic, an aging truck driver population, and the closure of many truck driving schools amid the crisis has created a tremendous problem for fuel suppliers. Furthermore, a nation-wide purge of truck drivers with past alcohol or drug violations has removed some 40,000-60,000 truckers from the working pool since January 2020.
CNN notes that this trucking issue could have an impact on gas station’s abilities to get more fuel before their supplies dwindle. This could potentially cause gas buying panics, as folks try and ensure that they don’t run out of fuel. The publication further notes that this could be problematic in high-traffic areas, particularly in regions that experience a lot of out of town travelers during the vacation season. We already saw the effects of this down in Florida, where gas shortages took place during spring break.
Gasoline Demand At 2019 Levels
Combine all of this with the fact that demand for gas is back up to 97 percent of what it was in 2019, and things aren’t looking great. Unfortunately for all of us, normal truck drivers aren’t immediately qualified to handle tanker trucks, as this task requires a significant amount of extra training and certification. Furthermore, these positions experience a lot more turnover than a typical long-haul truck driver, with many leaving the industry for other booming career paths. This all is slated to come together and create a spike in gas prices, with the national average expected to crest $3.00 a gallon this summer.
So then if you happen to be in need of some work, perhaps think about going and getting certified as a tanker truck driver. There is quite clearly some demand out there in this field, and it might just help us all avoid some very expensive fill-ups.