Scarcity of van drivers is affecting fuel stations in Indiana
But experts say you don’t have to worry. There is no shortage of gas; In fact, refineries are producing at almost record levels. There are just not enough drivers for the gas deliveries.
“The offer is great. It’s just the logistics of getting it to the retailer’s underground tank the last mile, ”said Scot Imus, Executive Director of the Indiana Food & Fuel Association.
Therefore, any so-called deficiency in a single station should only be short-lived. It’s just a matter of waiting for the next truck to show up.
“If your favorite station is out of fuel at this hour, he or she may be able to have it in the following hour or the next day,” said Imus.
Experts said it was a problem that has been brewing for some time. A workforce that was about 10% below need in 2019 is now 20 to 25% below need, in part because the coronavirus pandemic has laid off many drivers who have since found other work and pushed others to to take early retirement.
Patrick De Haan, Head of Oil Analysis GasBuddy said that since the job requires not only a commercial driver’s license but also a dangerous goods license, the turnaround to hiring more drivers won’t come immediately, even if trucking companies raise wages and offer incentives of up to $ 15,000 .
“The incentive is there, but you can’t get tank truck drivers certified for dangerous goods onto the road overnight. It will take some time, ”said De Haan.
While anyone can be affected at any time, the smaller stations that rely on third-party delivery companies, who sometimes require 72-hour notice for delivery, are more likely to be affected, which is unheard of under normal conditions.
“You could see a laundry list of customers waiting to be refueled,” DeHaan said. “You can take the highest bidder.”
Still, both men agree that consumers shouldn’t have to worry.
“That’s nothing to worry about,” DeHaan said.
“There is no need to panic,” added Imus.
Just give yourself a few extra minutes and a few extra miles to make sure you find gasoline when you need it most.
“The best thing to do is to go down the street to the next station. It will probably have gasoline, ”DeHaan said.
Gas prices are the highest in seven years.
(Story by Dan Klein)