Are you awaiting the summer months? Longing for that much-needed road trip? Well, think again because you just may be sipping Koolaid out by your blow-up Costco pool with your neighbors this summer. And here’s why.
Simply put, there’s a truck driver shortage. Contrary to what some people may think, there’s no actual crude oil or gas shortage but a shortage of “National Tank Truck Carriers.” As a result, the shortage of workers can create a deficit of those commodities.
“Somewhere between 20% to 25% of tank trucks in the fleet are parked heading into this summer due to a paucity of qualified drivers. At this point in 2019, only 10% of trucks were sitting idle for that reason.”
What is partially at the core of this? The “Pandemic.” Once again, we see the narrative. A year ago, when most places shut down, many of the truckers followed suit, closed up shop, and were forced to pursue other work. With businesses shutting down and folks staying home, gas was in low demand. A large segment of elder truckers called it quits and retired while others couldn’t handle the complex workload required to drive a tanker truck, further diminishing their numbers.
The latter is a particularly challenging and demanding work, being set apart from most standard long-haul operations by requiring unique certification and arduous training to get a commercial driver’s license.
Another issue was the shutdown of driver training schools which started last spring at the onset of the Not considered essential, these training centers being shuttered then has created a lack of drivers in there here and now, resulting in a whole new class of drivers that failed to emerge. To make matters worse, prior drug and alcohol violations and failed drug tests eliminated about 40,000 to 60,000 drivers nationwide out of the workforce.
There is a high turnover of employees in the tanker truck business. What was once a turnover rate of 50 percent has now risen to 70 percent in the last year, the result of workers picking up a hammer and pursuing careers in the booming industry of construction
Pandemic. Pandemic. Pandemic.
Plus, with the unemployment paying a high wage often up to almost half or more of what a worker makes, who wants to work for a living? The demise of society and play mentality corrupts via drug and alcohol abuse. With all the hardship in this profession, why would older workers want to stay and not retire even if a bit early?
The “work hard, play hard” days in the US may be partially over. Many aren’t working as hard (if at all), but in a situation like this, they may not be able to play hard either.
Gas prices (like lumber) may skyrocket.
“The national average price of regular gas already stands at an average of $2.89 a gallon, up more than 60% from a year ago when prices and demand were bottoming out.” And it could very well rise far above that. Right now the average gallon of gas is $4.00 in California and approximately $3.00 per gallon in Colorado, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia.
With the lack of qualified and available candidates in the tanker trucking industry, recruiters have doubled the salaries to keep capable workers.
A severe and authentic “rippling effect” is that one shortage leads to another.
With gas not getting to some stations, this, in turn, causes folks not to want to “stop and grab a snack at that convenience store.” Also, travelers who usually wouldn’t keep their tanks topped off and full will now do so, in turn causing more shortages.
This can affect hotels, flights, and vacationing in tremendous ways. People are already booking hotels for the summer etc., but if fuel is in high demand and with lower output, that could create big problems.
So when all is said and done, many folks may just be staying closer to home this summer.
For those living in the hotter southern regions, that may mean investing in a freezer to stock up with popsicles instead of vacationing in the northern cooler climates.