Thursday, April 29, 2021

Try paying more

 I'm not o

ne to throw bombs when it comes to labor issues, normally. Sometimes, though, it just gets stupid and you have to throw your two cents in.

OK, so CNN of course runs with a clickbait header that gas stations are going to run out of fuel this

The fuel industry is more calm, of course, because they actually work for a living.

‘Summer scramble’ for
gasoline on tap amid
tank-truck driver

Retail stations aren’t likely to suffer from a widespread shortage of gasoline,

analysts said, despite all the talk lately about a lack of tanker drivers to deliver

the fuel as demand ramps up for the summer driving season.

“I wouldn’t forecast a shortage; I’m calling it a summer scramble,” Tom Kloza,

global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, told


The title of an article on CNN that ran Tuesday suggested that gas stations could

run out of gas this summer.

The report, citing National Tank Truck Carriers, said that roughly 20% to 25% of

tank trucks are “parked” heading into this summer due to a shortage of qualified

drivers. MarketWatch contacted the industry trade group, but it hasn’t responded to a request for comment.

Kloza said there’s likely to be “plenty of refinery production of gasoline, lots of

imports, and no problems at bulk facilities,” which refer to those big tanks near

refineries and pipelines.

The problem is drivers, he said, and it’s in the “last one-to-150 miles in the

distribution chain where tank truck driver counts are down.”

Kloza said a typical tanker truck carries 8,000 gallons. So on a day with 9.5

million barrels of demand, or just under 400 million gallons, the industry would

need 50,000 tanker trucks just to handle station needs, he explained.

But the lack of truck drivers is not a new issue. COVID-19 accelerated it, as some

drivers retired last year when demand was slow, says Jeff Lenard, vice president

of strategic industry initiatives at NACS, which represents convenience and fuel

retailers. There were also “challenges in getting new drivers certified” in schools

during the worst of the pandemic, he said.


So, as I often do, I wish CNN to be fornicated by a truck bumper, at highway

speed, directly in the ear.

This is not a crisis, but a labor market readjustment.

The plain truth is that a truck driver can carry bulk cargo for the same money

as he can get for carrying fuel, and without the additional certifications and liability

that moving oil comes with. You don't go to jail or get cuffed for EPA violations for

spilling a load of soybeans.

The simple solution is that if more drivers are needed, companies will pay more.

But that doesn't generate clicks for our News Lords, so nobody is going to mention


I'd be happy to see more pipelines and less over-the-road transport of fuels, but

permitting of pipelines takes years, and the NIMBY crowd prefers their oil spills and

explosions to take place in railyards and over the roads, rather than to disturb the wa

by having safer, more efficient but unbuildable right-of-ways near where they shit.

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