Gasoline may be in short supply at the pump this summer. There's plenty of crude oil and gasoline, but refineries can't find enough qualified tanker-truck drivers to get it to the gas stations."According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry's trade group, 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," Chris Isidore reports for CNN. "Drivers left the business a year ago when gasoline demand ground to a near halt during the early pandemic-related shutdowns."
Oklahoma tanker-truck executive Holly McCormick cited another factor: "We're also working with an aging work force. Many said 'I might as well take it as a cue to retire.'" She also said the shutdown of many driver schools early in the pandemic disrupted the pipeline of new drivers who would have taken many retirees' places. "And then there's a new federal clearinghouse that went online in January 2020 to identify truck drivers with prior drug or alcohol violations or failed drug tests, which knocked about 40,000 to 60,000 total drivers out of the national employment pool," Isidore reports.