Drivers in Colorado have reported that they’re having trouble finding gas stations that are supplied with fuel — and many media outlets are pointing to a shortage of truck drivers as the reason for the supply chain disruption.
Local outlets have reported gas stations running dry in Pueblo, Canon City, Denver, and Colorado Springs over the past week.
A Circle K gas station manager in Lakewood told Denver7 that “We had six days where we only had diesel. We had no unleaded, and we had no premium.”
Many outlets are arguing that there are no serious gas shortages and that the reason that gas stations are running out of supply is due to a lack of truck drivers. They say that this shortage combined with panic buying is causing the pumps to temporarily run dry.
Many members of the trucking industry and groups like OOIDA have long argued that there is no shortage of truck drivers, and that the real staffing issue within the trucking industry is caused by stagnating driver wages and high driver turnover rates.
A report from AAA Colorado provides a more nuanced explanation — namely, that the pandemic caused tanker truck drivers to seek out different jobs within the trucking industry as demand for fuel dropped.
“Many of these gasoline delivery drivers lost their jobs last year at the beginning of the pandemic. These drivers took their skills to shipping services like Amazon. They took to delivering household items like toilet paper which were in high demand last year. Now that gasoline demand has returned to near pre-pandemic levels, the driver shortage is causing supply chain issues,” the report from AAA Colorado explained.
Harold Trent, director of the United States Truck Driving School Incorporated, explained that he believes that the hazmat endorsement required to haul fuel is also contributing to gas station shortages in Colorado as fewer new drivers are interested in hauling hazmat.
“A lot of potential drivers are just not interested in hauling hazardous material because of the danger and nature of the job. Or some candidates don’t quality. There’s a lot of things that can knock a potential candidate out of the hazardous section material of the CDL with regards to stuff that’s on their criminal background,” Trent told Denver7.
This is not the first time this year that fuel shortages have made headlines. In May, a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide put fuel in short supply in several states and prompted the FMCSA to issue an emergency declaration in an effort to speed up fuel deliveries.