Pipeline hack uncovers another issue; not enough gas transport drivers

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The Colonial gas pipeline hack resulted in gas supply issues in much of the East. But there’s “another” gas supply concern: A shortage of drivers who “transport” gasoline. We learned more from Hitendra Chaturvedi, a Supply Chain Professor at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

“What happened was that many of these food truck drivers, ended up leaving the job for a much higher paid job in the construction industry. Many people don’t realize is that even in a normal, average year, the turnover of truck drivers for the few trucking industries have a 15%, because you’d stay away from home a lot, a lot of stress during the pandemic increased in 17%. So that was one reason. Second, during the pandemic, most of the schools…huge truck driving is highly specialized schools that teach drivers….Many of these schools are shut down. So the pipeline dried out, there weren’t many truck drivers out there who were qualified to go drive the truck when demand started increasing,” Chaturvedi said.

How has this/will this affect gas prices in Arizona?

“It has already affected gas prices in Arizona, because we get gas from two locations, west, which is California and Texas in the east. Few of the f gas prices increase happen because of the winter storm. But again, pandemic in California and Texas, the shortage of drivers, both the locations, we are we are facing the same thing. It is going to improve. It is already improving. And so, wait till August…July/August, after that you will start to see prices going down, as well as the shortage is going away,” Chaturvedi said.

Chaturvedi recognizes the issue at hand but has hope for the future, “this problem is staring us in the eye, it is still for other products because there are so many companies and so many drivers, and so many trucks that other products and commodities can hedge the risk for a few truck drivers because they’re so specialized, this is becoming more acute, but I don’t foresee this to last for another couple months.”

Hitendra Chaturvedi, Supply Chain Professor, W.P. Carey School of Business

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