25% of Gasoline Tanker Trucks Idle with Driver Shortage

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.

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$15 Per Hour Minimum Wage Now Available for Government Contractors

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on April 27, 2021, to require some federal contractors to pay workers at least $15 per hour. This EO applies to those on government contracts, and the higher minimum wage goes into effect beginning January 30, 2022.

Biden also tied the minimum wage to be adjusted each year for inflation as part of the executive order. It will be at a rate set by the Labor Secretary.

The Biden administration hopes to enhance worker productivity, reduce absenteeism, and lower training and supervisory costs by taking these steps.

Agencies are “strongly encouraged” to make the pay raise active immediately as of the order date. New government contracts now include a clause mandating that covered contractors and subcontractors take the requirement into the lower-tier documents.

What Is the Impact on Tipped Minimum Wage?

Biden’s executive order makes changes to the tipped minimum wage for some federal contractors. Starting on the January 30, 2022, date, workers who get tips must receive a base pay of $10.50 per hour.

There are also provisions for the following years (2023 and 2024) that contractors must pay tipped workers 85% and the higher minimum wage, respectively.

If a tipped workers’ hourly wages don’t reach the higher amount, the contractor must increase salaries to make up the difference.

This EO replaces the one signed by Barack Obama in 2014. That order required federal contract workers to earn $10.10 per hour, indexed to inflation. Under that structure, the current hourly wage was $10.95 in 2021.

Although the wage difference is notable, the orders from Obama and Biden appear pretty similar in how they operate. Both focus on concessions and services without applying to tribal agreements.

Biden’s EO also revoked one of Trump’s orders that provided an exemption for recreational services on federal lands.