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'Expect to pay more at the pump': Increased demand for gas due to a national truck driver shortage

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Posted at 2:45 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 19:51:19-04

WISCONSIN (NBC 26) — As you head out on the road this summer, expect to pay more at the pump.

Currently, there’s an increased demand for gas due to a national truck driver shortage. According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, up to 25% of Tank Trucks in the fleet are parked heading into the summer.

The group said it’s because of a lack of qualified drivers. NBC 26 took a closer look at the issue in Northeast Wisconsin. WEL Companies based out of De Pere said they’re experiencing this issue at home.

“I think as time goes on we will notice the prices on our shelves, the products we buy will continue to rise and that can be directly attributed to the shortage of drivers. Less drivers mean less product going on your shelves, less products on your shelves means higher prices,” said Todd Svetlovics, Director of Driver Relations.

He said the issue their company, and many other trucking companies are facing, is the lack of applicants to meet the demand.

gas pump station car fuel
FILE- In this April 28, 2011 file photo, John Magel pumps gas at a station in Wethersfield, Conn.

“When the pandemic came and people became out of work because of it. There were some trucking companies that couldn’t go on. They shut their doors people were displaced,” Svetlovics said.

As a result, he said many older truck drivers either retired or those who were laid off decided to venture into a different path.

“There is not enough young drivers to replace the aging population and with the government handouts that we are facing right now and the ability to stay at home and not work. A lot of people are taking that instead of choosing the work route. So this is another example of the struggle to find drivers because of that,” Svetlovics said.

He goes on to say that truck drivers are the backbones of getting products on our shelves.

“If you remember when the pandemic started there wasn’t food on the shelves, there wasn’t toilet paper, there wasn’t goods that you normally took for granted. It’s because of the driver’s shortage that we weren’t able to move our supply chains and because of that everything got backlogged. And how we can fix that, obviously more truck drivers,” Svetlovics said.

DAT operates the largest truckload freight marketplace in North America. Here are some trends they share.

DAT trendlines
Fuel Prices

And while there is a continued need for truck drivers, experts with Gas Buddy say no need to panic as they believe there will be enough gas for most Americans this summer.

“The gasoline is there it does not impact the supply of gasoline. It’s just kind of like the kink of the delivery system of goods. That is think of it like a delay with a shipper. Say for example UPS or FedEx there’s a weather event,” said Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis, GasBuddy.

Locally De Haan shares he doesn’t believe it will impact so much our area, but instead mostly touristy areas.

“Think Yellow Stone, Yosemite areas that are small and not used to an influx of drivers. It’s those areas that may be a little bit challenged,” De Haan said.