Supply Chain Woes Disrupt Plans to Emerge From Our Homes This Summer

At long last, many people have completed their vaccination cycles and more Americans are feeling better about getting back into the world. It’s nearly summer, and I don’t know about you but I’m planning to expand upon the road trip I drove last July from Austin, Texas, to Elkhart, Indiana. And I’m thinking a hybrid with big range numbers (like a Lexus LC 500h with 600 miles to one tank) will be a smart choice since industry insiders are predicting a gas shortage. 

Due partially to the pandemic, fuel companies are facing a scarcity of tank truck drivers. The net result is that between 20 and 25 percent of tankers in the fleet are sitting idle, according to the National Tank Truck Carriers (via CNN Business), and that means less fuel can be transported to gas stations across the country. Driving schools shut down for a while last year, and they’re scrambling to replenish the gap, but truck driver jobs overall have been more difficult to fill in recent years. 

In order to pilot a tanker truck filled with fuel, a driver has to not only earn a commercial drivers’ license; they must complete weeks of training. Trips are shorter than the ones long-haul truckers are required to take, but pulling gas has its own set of challenges. I mean, getting behind the wheel of a giant flammable tank must be incredibly stressful.

If this shortage transpires the way the predictions are headed, expect gas hoarding that could be as frustrating as the toilet paper deficiency the country experienced earlier in the pandemic. Storing cans of gas at your home necessitates some precautions, as well: Exxon recommends on its site to store gasoline at room temperature, out of the sun, and away from potential heat sources like a hot water heater, a space heater, or furnace. And be sure to keep it at least 50 feet away from your pilot light.

Electric cars and plug-ins are looking pretty good right about now, eh? Don’t be surprised to see a lot more charging stations popping up very soon. 

What are your summer plans? Comment here or send the writer a note: kristin.shaw@thedrive.com

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