With much-needed summer vacation trips on the horizon for Americans, gas prices and supply could pose an issue, according to CNN.
Forecasts show millions of Americans planning to go on vacation this summer. However, a lack of tanker truck drivers that deliver gas could stifle plans. According to the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC), between 20 and 25 percent of tank trucks aren't operating for the summer due to a lack of qualified drivers. For comparison, this same time in 2019 saw only 10 percent of trucks not operating.
"We've been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it," said Ryan Streblow, the executive vice president of the NTTC. "It certainly has grown exponentially."
This shouldn't be surprising though. This time last year, gasoline demand was plummeting as the world hunkered down to slow the spread of COVID-19 and many left the workforce. Furthermore, driving a tanker truck requires special certification such as a commercial driver's license and weeks of training.
Furthermore, the NTTC cited the shutdown of driver schools at the start of the pandemic as an additional strain on the industry. Lastly, a new federal clearinghouse went online in January 2020 that identifies truck drivers with drug or alcohol violations and eliminates between 40-60,000 of total drivers.
To help fill driver's seats, tanker operators are raising pay and rates that they charge customers. "I had to double my recruiting budget to get the same number of drivers," said McCormick.
This could drive the price of gasoline up and ruin some summer vacation if tankers don't get back on the road.