‘They need their rest too’: Gas shortage putting strain on fuel truck drivers

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 8:48 PM EDT
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Even with the Colonial Pipeline restarting, gas is still hard to come by across the Grand Strand.

As of around 9 p.m. Wednesday, Gas Buddy reports 51% of gas stations in South Carolina are without gas.

Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, added that those numbers may go up even higher before falling back to normal.

The surge in demand is putting a strain on fuel truck drivers who are already struggling to keep up.

“When you’ve got a disruption like this, which is thankfully rare, you add the uncertainty and all that gets exacerbated,” Rick Todd, South Carolina Trucking Association CEO, said.

FUEL TRACKER | Where to find gas along the Grand Strand

Todd said there’s a major shortage of drivers across the transportation industry. However, finding qualified drivers for the fuel and petroleum sector is even more difficult.

“These drivers… have to certainly have really, really good safety records and that makes them hard to come by,” he said.

Because of the shutdown, Todd said tank truck drivers are having to drive further to find fuel at loading racks before driving back to their service areas.

“So you have delays, extra costs and that really strains that capacity that the fleets have and that the drivers have because they have limited hours of availability and they need their rest too,” he said.

Todd said in rare cases, state and federal agencies may allow drivers to carry a little more fuel than usual to help speed up the resupply.

“But safety is still paramount so fleets just have to be extra vigilant and the drivers just have to work their best and then manage their fatigue on their own,” he said.

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