Business News: Petrol stations may run out of fuel this summer.
People planning US vacations this summer may be in for a nasty surprise. According to industry experts, the gas shortage, especially in holiday resorts, looms due to the lack of tanker truck drivers to supply fuel.
According to the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) – an industry group that claims on behalf of tanker companies and has over 200 companies in its books – nearly a quarter of the tanks in its fleet are currently unused and waiting for drivers. CNN was the first to report the news.
Experts from the NTTC told CNN that the pandemic was mainly to blame. When the journey stopped and the demand for gas diminished, the drivers were left out of work. Many took it “as a cue to retire” rather than resuming training to start delivering Amazon packages, for example, Holly McCormick – who heads the workforce committee for NTTC – told CNN.
“We were also hauling boxes for Amazon just to keep our drivers busy,” said Holly McCormick, vice president responsible for driver recruitment and retention at Groendyke Transport, an Oklahoma tanker company. “Many pilots did not want to follow safety protocols. We are also working with an aging workforce. Many have said ‘I might as well take it as a sign to retire.’
Not only a truck driver can drive a tanker. Requires special certification, including a commercial driver’s license and weeks of post-employment training. And while the jobs are more attractive than some long-haul trucking jobs that can keep drivers away from home for days or weeks at a time, is hard and hard work.
Holiday hotspots are most at risk of shortage, and there have been some sporadic outages reported in Florida, Arizona, and northwestern Missouri during the recent spring break period, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. But even if only a few stations run out of gas, that could trigger a gasoline run as drivers will start refilling their tanks to avoid running out of gas along the way, Kloza said.
“Imagine hoarding with toilet paper and refilling gas tanks that we see after hurricanes and you can see what could happen,” Kloza said. The problem is compounded by strong demand for gas, he added, which some forecasts could exceed 10 million barrels per day for the first time ever at various points this summer.