Summer travel season faces gasoline shortages


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — If you are planning to hit the road this summer for that long-awaited trip to grandma’s house, be prepared for potential gasoline shortages.

There’s no problem with the supply of gasoline but there is a problem with the number of people who are qualified to drive the supply from gas station to gas station. According to the American Trucking Association, one-fourth of the nation’s tanker trucks are parked due to a driver shortage. Many highly specialized veteran tanker drivers have retired and haven’t been replaced.

This file photo shows Tanker trucks wait parked inside the storage and dispatch terminal of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexico’s state-owned oil company, in the port of Veracruz, Mexico, Dec. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

The association is monitoring the nationwide shortage of holders of commercial driver’s licenses across the country. The association predicts the nation needs to hire 110,000 additional drivers every year over the next 10 years.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is monitoring the situation and according to a regional representative, so far no shortages have been reported in southeast Virginia.

File photo of cars (Getty Images).

“We have only seen a few markets around the country with select stations having low or no gas right now. We have plenty of supply in the United States; it’s just a matter of getting to all of the stations in a timely manner,” said Holly Collins Dalby, AAA director of Public Affairs for the Tidewater Region.

Collins Dalby said problems with deliveries appear to be chain-related. If your favorite convenience store is out of gas, Collins Dalby says it’s likely a nearby competitor is open for business.

“If you do pull into a station and that particular station is low on fuel, head to the next one because you will probably find that everything is fine there. We would advise to not let your tank go down but to keep some fuel in there and plan your travel accordingly. Check out the area where you are going to make sure you are prepared when you go,” said Collins Dalby.

Collins Dalby says map out the stations before you hit the road and to avoid mechanical problems, never drive until you have nearly drained your tank.

“If you are at the bottom of ‘E,’ it can cause mechanical problems; sediment can get in your fuel pump,” said Collins Dalby.

Additional summer driving tips can be found on the AAA website.

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