After a 2020 that kept many families stuck at home, the summer of 2021 looks to become a vacation extravaganza. Millions of people are expected to hit the road or fly to see family, visit theme parks, and more.
Although there is plenty of fuel to get people to where they need to go, the number of tanker truck drivers making deliveries is significantly lower this year. About one out of every four trucks that were on the road in 2019 is not functioning today.
Special certifications are necessary to drive a tanker truck. Since that means several weeks of training after getting a commercial driver’s license, it isn’t an attractive option. It is often strenuous and challenging work.
That’s why driver turnover each year averages about 50%. In 2020, approximately 70% of drivers decided that they didn’t want to get behind the wheel.
Rising Pay Rates Aren’t Producing the Expected Results
Holly McCormick is the VP of Driver Recruitment and Retention for Groendyke Transport in Oklahoma. She says that she’s had to double her recruiting budget in 2021 to get the same driver numbers they had in the previous year.
What is causing the driver shortage?
Many workers move into construction jobs because the hours are better, the pay is similar, and there is less time away from home. Others are transitioning into new forms of remote work.
The result of this transition is that the higher recruiting costs cause the rates charged to customers to rise by the same amount. It’s a ripple effect already impacting the prices at the grocery stores.
If there is no fuel, there isn’t any business. If stations run out of gas, drivers keep stopping to top off their tanks. That action places even more pressure on the industry.
That’s why gas prices could see a surge in the summer of 2021.