May 3, 2021
By Walt Williams
A shortage of qualified truck drivers to deliver gasoline could lead to some gas stations running out of fuel when many people hit the road this summer, the National Tank Truck Carriers recently told CNN.
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NTTC is a trade group representing the tank truck industry. The group said that 20% to 25% of tank trucks in the U.S. fleet will remain parked this summer because of a driver shortage, according to CNN. At this same point in 2019, only 10% of trucks were idle.
Many drivers left the industry during the pandemic as gas prices tanked because of low demand. Few have come back. The driver workforce is also aging and few young people are filling the openings.
“We've been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it,” Ryan Streblow, executive vice president of NTTC, told the news channel. “It certainly has grown exponentially.”
The National Association of Convenience Store is also worried about potential fuel shortages, noting demand for gas already is back up to 97% of where it was at this time in 2019.
“I've talked to retailers, they say there could be places where there are brief outages,” NACS spokesman Jeff Lenard 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.”
Vacation hotspots are the most likely to experience shortages. Sporadic shortages were reported in Florida, Arizona and Northwest Missouri during the recent Spring Break period, according to CNN.
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