KSL INVESTIGATES

Nationwide Truck Driver Shortage Could Leave Gas Stations Dry This Summer

May 18, 2021, 9:59 PM | Updated: 10:23 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – You may see more “out of service” bags on gas pumps over this coming Summer as industry experts warn some gas station drums will run out of fuel to pump into your ride. But it is not a gas shortage. Turns out, it is a trucker shortage.

“Because of that shortage (of truckers) we’re seeing some delays in some stations across the markets,” said Aldo Vazquez, spokesman for AAA.

Vazquez said some gas stations in our region are already seeing delays stretching a couple days.

“A lot of these gas stations and a lot of markets are trying to adjust for these delays,” he said. “And so, they’re trying to extend their schedules and trying to get gasoline moving as fast as they possibly can.”

The nationwide trucker shortage is not a new phenomenon. For several years now, industry groups have said there is an ongoing shortage of men and women willing to do the job.
But lockdowns throughout the pandemic last year have added fuel to the fire as the demand for gas went way down. Some who used to drive the rigs found other jobs – including delivery of decidedly less hazardous materials we have all grown accustomed to showing up at our doorsteps. All this has further exacerbated the need for truck drivers.

“There’s plenty of gasoline here in the country,” said Vazquez.

AAA said it is too early to predict how the shortage in truck drivers and fuel delivery delays will play when it comes to gas prices. But what the automotive club does predict is that unlike other shortages we have seen since the pandemic struck – like toilet paper and wipes – they do not expect fuel will become impossible to find.

“Just go down to another gas station and fill up there,” Vazquez said. “You’ll find gas. There’s plenty of gas.”

As far as the shortage of truck drivers, the issue has become serious enough to grab the attention of Congress. Some, including Utah senator Mitt Romney, are working to make it easier to become a truck driver, including lowering the minimum age.

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Nationwide Truck Driver Shortage Could Leave Gas Stations Dry This Summer