(WJW) — With gas prices already surging this year, another fuel problem may soon be on the horizon.
Some in the industry are now predicting a fuel shortage come summer. And it’s not due to a supply issue, but rather not enough tank truck drivers to move the fuel to gas stations.
CNN reported that industry group National Tank Truck Carriers said nearly 20% to $25% of tank trucks aren’t being used right now as there are not enough qualified drivers available. The year before the pandemic struck, that number was only at 10%.
The problem reportedly became magnified last year when Americans weren’t driving due to the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, and gas stations just didn’t need as much gas. This meant truck drivers weren’t getting enough work and many chose to leave the business.
Also adding to the challenges is that the job requires a special certification and a certain amount of training. During the pandemic, many of the truck training programs were also shut down.
The national average price of regular gas is currently $2.89 a gallon, an increase of over 60% from a year ago. Some are predicting price increases this summer when people, many fully vaccinated, are looking to get away. Add in a trucking shortage and some retailers are worried about what business could be like this coming season.
“I’ve talked to retailers, they say there could be places where there are brief outages,” Jeff Lenard, spokesman at the National Association of Convenience Stores, told CNN. “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.”