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Trucker shortage may mean driving farther to fill your tank

Trucker shortage could affect gas supply
Trucker shortage could affect gas supply 01:39

More Americans are expected to take road trips during the summer travel season, boosting demand for  gasoline and pushing up prices at the pump. Gas is likely to hit around $3 a gallon by the Memorial Day holiday, according to the American Automobile Association. 

And while a shortage of truck drivers is delaying deliveries of everything from flowers to fuel, concerns of gas shortages are overblown, AAA says. A spike in demand and a dearth of drivers is delaying some fuel shipments, temporarily leaving a number of pumps running low or empty, AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano told CBS MoneyWatch. 

"The good news is where we've seen it happen, it's definitely not marketwide and pumps are back full in a day or two."

What has this meant for motorists? They had to "drive down the street to the next station to fill up," Casselano said. "We're not looking at a shortage of gasoline," she emphasized. 

As for what's ahead, Casselano said Americans could see empty filling stations pop up in beach and mountain areas where people travel to visit popular attractions. Her advice is to fill up your tank when it has a quarter remaining rather than waiting for the gauge to hit empty. 

Travel industry prepares for post-pandemic su... 06:54

The average price of gas around the U.S. on Thursday was $2.94 a gallon, up $1.12 more than a year ago but in line with prices in 2019, before the pandemic hit. 

"It's more expensive than a year ago, but look at demand a year ago — it's like night and day," Casselano said.

A limited pool of available drivers has plagued the trucking industry for years, with the pandemic worsening the problem by causing some to retire early or switch to another line of work once economic activity shut down. COVID-19 has also make it harder to train new drivers, even as demand for deliveries rose as Americans, shuttered at home, turned to online shopping. 

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