Gas Lines In Michigan This Summer? The Reason May Surprise You
This is one rerun that I don't want to see again. I lived through the OPEC embargo in 1973 and then again in 1979, when everything went to hell in Iran, which caused an oil production shortage. Maybe if you're a pessimist like me, it would be fitting to follow a global pandemic with a gas shortage. (Knock on wood it doesn't happen.)
So all those memories of inconvenience came flooding back when I saw a story on CNN's website warning me of just that possibility. But here's the kicker to this. It's not because we're using too much oil and the oil producers can't keep up. No. It's because there's a shortage of truck drivers. Yes, not enough people to haul the gasoline in those tanker trucks.
And not to add to all this, but think about it. When there's any kind of shortage, prices inevitably gouge up.
The story says two years ago about 10% of tankers were idle due to a shortage of drivers. This year, that figure is 25%.
With all due respect, it's one thing when a restaurant can't get a server to work a shift. It's another when we're talking about paralyzing a country, and to some extent, an economy.
The story says many trucker drivers left the business during the pandemic. Has anyone thought of maybe offering them more money? I remember reading a couple of years ago that Walmart was offering even beginning drivers upwards of $90,000 per year to deliver the goods. (And that isn't a solution. Read on further.)
All ranting aside, here's a part of the problem:
'Not just any truck driver is allowed to drive a tanker truck. It requires special certification, including a commercial driver's license, and weeks of training after being hired. And while the jobs are more attractive than some long-haul trucking jobs that can keep drivers away from home for days or weeks at a time, it is strenuous, difficult work.' - CNN
The story goes on to say, another reason for this problem is truck driver training schools shut down during the pandemic, so the pipeline of new drivers isn't there. And a new federal database of drug and alcohol violations are also a part of the whole problem.
So brace yourself for another crisis. Maybe it won't happen but as ready as everyone is to get going again, well, who knows? Maybe this is a secret campaign to get people to buy electric vehicles.