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Truck driver shortage leads to hunt for gas in Southern Colorado

SOUTHERN COLORADO, Colo. (KRDO) -- Motorists in Southern Colorado are reporting gas stations are out of fuel. Drivers in Pueblo and Cañon City have reached out to AAA, who report this is a national trend.

Well into Saturday night, drivers reported long lines as people panic bought gasoline.

Skylar McKinley, Regional Director of Public Affairs for AAA Colorado, says there isn't a gas shortage, but there is a driver shortage.

While Southern Colorado is just now feeling the effects of a national tanker truck driver shortage, industry officials say they were expecting this to happen.

The National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry's trade group, reported back in April between 20% and 25% of tank trucks were parked due to a lack of qualified drivers. Compared to only 10% of trucks being parked at the same time in 2019.

“We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it,” said Ryan Streblow, the executive vice president of the NTTC. “It certainly has grown exponentially.”

Holly McCormick, vice president in charge of driver recruitment and retention at Groendyke Transport, said some aging drivers who were working pre-pandemic chose to retire instead of returning to work.

According to NTTC, the pandemic also shut down many driver schools early, hindering new drivers from becoming certified. Driving a tanker truck requires special certification and even weeks of training after being hired.

McKinley wants Southern Coloradoans to not panic, saying there is enough gas and the driver shortage is temporary. In April, NTTC said Tanker operators were raising pay to try to fill their drivers' seats.

For now, there's no word on when exactly the driver shortage will be resolved.

KRDO also spoke to a fuel distribution company in Denver who said there is a problem with the pipeline that brings gas from Denver to the Fountain area, where it's loaded into trucks. If that's the case, the company said it might take a few days to repair.

AAA asks people to not panic-buy gas. However, for many people, that's no longer an option considering many pumps have run dry.

People in Pueblo and Cañon City are reporting widespread outages, while Woodland Park and Colorado Springs have some pumps out and others working.

Local News / Pueblo / Travel / Video
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Shelby Filangi

Shelby is a digital content producer for KRDO.com. You can learn more about Shelby here.

Comments

20 Comments

  1. Goods shortages, fuel shortages, building materials shortages, inflation, insane government borrowing, crime rising, computer hacking, chaos at the border from illegal criminal immigrants,soaring prices, things are really not going well under Biden the demented fraud puppet and the radical Marxist Democrats that now occupy our government.

    1. In fairness, a lot of this was also instigated by Democrat governors like Polis who shut down the economy to make Trump look bad, but Joe and the Ho are doing nothing good to fix it.

      1. This was Trumps failed Tariffs. Colorado opened up far more quickly then many Red States, hell Florida is closing up Gov’t buildings again..lol

        1. I would not say “Many” A few maybe. The only place I can still go to run actual road race are red states. All my races scheduled in Iowa or Nebraska. Nothing like driving 8 hours for a 10k.

      1. When he took office a few months ago? Yeah..it’s going to take awhile to fix Trumps failed tariffs. He started, and promptly left it in the dust for a year out of 4 for golfing…

    2. Um…Biden cant fix Trumps failed Tariffs in the few months he’s been in office. Prices have been rising the last 4 years, if you bothered posting facts instead of feelings.

      1. Please post your facts then! This is your third post repeating the same lies. So please post your facts and not your feelings.

      2. Say whatever you want mouse, people aren’t that big of idiots. If you shut down life guard schools, guess what? No lifeguards! Republican governors only shut down stuff because faced left wing pressure to do so.

      1. Almost everytime I see a fuel tanker truck it’s a black driver! Why are you being a racist mouse? Typical liberal pretending not to be racist.

  2. Trucking was always a hard life, short or long haul, but now projections are that in a few decades a lot of the driving will be automated. So if you’re a young man looking for a field you can enter and retire in, this is no longer that field. It’s bound to affect the labor market, you will have to pay 20 year olds enough to make up for the fact that they will be out of a job by the time they are 40.

    In any case, about a third of the pumps in Teller were out yesterday, FYI to tourists driving here, fill up before you head out.

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