Stock photo

Stock photo

Shortage of truck drivers causing fuel shortages at gas stations

Suppliers struggle to keep up with increasing demand for fuel from travelers by car

State leaders are encouraging travelers by car to plan ahead as the increased demand comes at a time fuel stations nationwide are grappling with delays in fuel delivery caused by an ongoing shortage of truck drivers.

Memorial Day is approaching, bringing with it the unofficial launch of the spring and summer travel season. While air travel is steadily increasing, a larger-than-average number of travelers are expected to travel by car due to the pandemic, according to a state Department of Commerce May 18 news release.

“People are eager to travel, and because of the pandemic we’re expecting to see a lot more folks making stops at gas stations,” said Elizabeth King, state Energy Emergency Management director at the state Department of Commerce. “While fuel supplies are healthy, gas stations are sometimes seeing a delay in fuel deliveries so we want people to be prepared in case they have to make a few stops.”

King emphasizes the cybersecurity pipeline incident impacting fuel supplies in some states on the eastern side of the country is not impacting supplies in Washington state and is wholly separate from the delivery issue.

“Fuel supply is not an issue in our state,” King said. “We’ve been experiencing delays in fuel deliveries for quite some time. It’s the increased demand that is just now making the impact more visible to consumers.”

King says there are three things drivers can do to plan ahead:

• Before heading out, add an app to your smartphone that helps you quickly and easily find nearby gas stations. This can be especially helpful when stopping through an unfamiliar town or city.

• Don’t let your tank drop below a quarter tank. You may come across gas stations that are closed while they wait for their next fuel delivery, so be sure you don’t put yourself in a position where you can’t get yourself to another station for a refill.

• Be courteous and don’t buy more than you need. Fuel supplies are healthy and deliveries are on the way so fill up your tank and then get back on the the road so the driver waiting behind you can do the same.

Sheri Call, executive vice president of the Washington Trucking Association, says the shortage of professional commercial truck drivers is due to drivers aging out and retiring in greater numbers than are coming into the industry.

“Beyond fuel deliveries, this is putting the continuity of the nation’s supply chain at risk,” Call said. “COVID-19 made the problem worse. The temporary closures of state motor vehicle offices and truck driver training schools decimated the already fragile pipeline of new drivers entering the workforce.”

Over 70% of the nation’s freight is carried by commercial truck. In Washington state, 80% of communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods.

Call says companies are responding by raising driver pay and improving benefit programs to attract and retain drivers. She says this is an exciting time for anyone interested in entering the field. The industry is transitioning into a high-tech future with heavy duty zero emission trucks soon to be available, and autonomous operations of commercial trucks that will likely need a new kind of operator behind the wheel. But drivers aren’t the only ones keeping goods moving on the road.

“The trucking industry has so many opportunities beyond professional driver,” said Call. ”The industry employs one in 20 Washingtonians in a myriad of roles including compliance experts, safety and risk management experts, fleet maintenance, dispatch, sales, administrative and support staff. These folks are all instrumental in ensuring the safe and efficient movement of goods. It’s a great time to join our ranks.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Northwest

Dr. Amit Desai of St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17, 2020. COURTESY PHOTO, CHI Franciscan
State reports 94% of COVID-19 cases are unvaccinated people

Data released by state Department of Health for cases between February and June

Stock photo
Masks to be required at K-12 schools in Washington state

State Department of Health updates guidance for 2021-2022 school year

King County Executive Dow Constantine signs an order July 28 to restart inquests into deaths that involved police officers. COURTESY PHOTO, King County
King County to restart inquests into deaths by police officers

Cases include shootings by Kent, Auburn, Federal Way and Kirkland police

t
King County to hire recruiter to fill vacant Sheriff’s Office jobs

50 deputies have resigned this year after 69 resigned in 2020

File photo
Brief history of rats in the Puget Sound region – and the problem they present

Local exterminator noticed big change in rats over the past 40 years.

File Photo
Face covering recommendation in indoor public spaces expands to 7 more counties

King plus Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Clallam, Jefferson, San Juan and Grays Harbor counties

Elaine Simons, former foster mother of Jesse Sarey, addresses a crowd outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center on Aug. 24, 2020, moments after Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the May 31, 2019, shooting death of 26-year-old Sarey in front of a north Auburn convenience store. File photo
Supreme Court rules officers can be compelled to testify about killings

In a joint lawsuit against King County, the Washington State Supreme Court… Continue reading

Photo courtesy WSDOT
TRAFFIC ALERTS

Traffic alerts as of Tuesday, July 20 Both directions of State Route… Continue reading

Most Read