Gas stations run low on fuel ahead of July 4th weekend and prices rise to their highest in seven years as 43M Americans prepare to hit the road
- Gas prices are at their highest level for almost seven years at $3.10/gallon
- Last year, during the pandemic demand suddenly plummeted
- It led to many gas tank trunk drivers retiring or switching to other trucking jobs
- As a result, it means there is around a 20-25% shortage of gas tank truck drivers
- Gas stations are unable to have the gas they require delivered to them
Gas stations across the country are running out of gasoline just as Americans are preparing to hit the road for the July 4th holiday weekend.
Those that do manage to find gas are likely to find some of the highest prices in almost seven years.
But it’s not the demand for fuel that is causing stations to run dry, but the lack of gas tank truckers to deliver petroleum, with far fewer on the road now than in years gone by.
There is around a 20-25% shortage of gas tank truck drivers meaning gas stations are unable to have the gas they require delivered to them with some stations now starting to run dry
It means many stations not able to get gas delivered at all, according to CNN.
The current national average for a gallon of regular gas is $3.10. The highest price point since October 2014.
The prices are also up 42% compared to a year ago when the pandemic sent gas prices plunging following an enormous drop-off in demand.
‘It used to be an afterthought for station owners to schedule truck deliveries. Now it’s job No. 1,’ said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service.
Some of the highest gas prices in town are posted on a signboard at a gas station in downtown Los Angeles, pictured last week.
‘What I’m worried about for July is the increased demand works out to about 2,500 to 3,000 more deliveries needed every day. There just aren’t the drivers to do that.’
Although a shortage of drivers is a problem throughout the trucking industry, special qualifications are needed to drive a gas tank and finding new drivers is no easy task.
The pandemic saw a number of tank truck drivers retiring with others moving to other trucking jobs after the demand in gasoline dropped so suddenly.
National Tank Truck Carriers estimates 20% to 25% of tank trucks across the country are currently parked up.
Gas prices are displayed at a Chevron station in Los Angeles, California last week. The average price for a gallon of gasoline continues to rise amid inflation fears with the current rate of regular grade up to $3.10 nationwide. In California, the average price is now over $4.00
‘We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for awhile, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it,’ said Ryan Streblow to CNN, the executive vice president of the NTTC. ‘It certainly has grown exponentially.’
Although the demand for gasoline is similar to 2019 pre-pandemic, demand is up 16% compared to the end of last year.
AAA is forecasting more than 43 million people to hit the road this Fourth of July weekend with 2019 records likely to be broken.
43.6 million Americans are preparing to hit the road for the July 4th holiday weekend (file pic)