Not only are gas prices their highest in nearly seven years—in some parts of the US, you might struggle even to be able to get gas at all. Stations are running out of fuel, CNN reports, due to a tank truck driver shortage and rising demand leading to supply chain issues. Outages have been reported in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio, with stations reporting they're struggling to get gas delivered. This could be a problem during the July 4 holiday weekend, when AAA expects 43.6 million Americans to travel by car—the highest number so far this year.
When demand for gasoline plummeted last year at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many older tank truck drivers retired and others switched to trucking jobs in higher demand, experts explain. Special qualifications are needed to drive a tank truck, so it's been difficult to get new drivers in to replace those who left. Meanwhile, the national average price for gas is $3.10 a gallon, up 42% from a year ago, when demand and prices plummeted. Despite the shortage news, experts are pleading with people not to panic and start filling gas containers, as that will just make things worse. As the Dispatch reports, gas itself is not in short supply, and in many cases, the outages have been brief. (Read more gas shortage stories.)