Predictions of empty gas pumps this summer due to a shortage of certified gas truck drivers shouldn’t affect most drivers in Montana, according to Gas Buddy’s Patrick DeHaan.

Could there be gas shortages?

DeHaan said any possible shortages will be primarily in very remote areas.

“What's being said is a piece of journalism is perhaps a little bit sensationalized,” said DeHaan. “The possibility that at a few stations this summer, there may be few hours where stations don't have any gas to sell simply because consumers in a very limited amount of areas are outpacing how quickly gas stations can resupply. It's not that there's not enough gasoline. It's simply that there are not enough truckers to bring the gasoline to stations as quickly as they need to refill.”

Experts say gas prices shouldn't be affected.

DeHaan said this temporary trucker shortage shouldn’t affect the price of gas this summer.

“It shouldn't be a pricing issue simply because this is well downstream,” he said. “This is something that is simply a delay in between getting gasoline from refineries or from what we call ‘racks’ to the retail outlet. Usually when there are issues up the chain, we can see price impacts, but this is so far down the chain that it is not going to be a pricing event. Other things can be pricing events at the same time that this is happening, but this (the temporary trucker shortage) is still not going to be an issue that affects price.”

DeHaan said a driver must be specially trained and certified to transport combustible fuel.

“Well, it takes a long time to get certified, drive minimum hours with hazmat certification to drive a truck with gasoline or other combustible petroleum products,” he said. “This is something that will take time but the Department of Transportation can temporarily ease a pretty stringent requirement on truck driver hours. So there are ways that we can deal with this, but like I said, this is going to be a very isolated issue in the grand scheme of gas stations this summer, and most motorists are not going to notice a problem at all.”

Take a deep breath and read on.

To put drivers’ minds at ease, DeHaan provided this statement.

“Nobody needs to worry, there's plenty of gasoline,” he said. “It’s not impossible that generally in some of the tourist areas that are maybe not set up to fill their tanks as quickly or have less fuel, that there may be brief periods where stations are running behind refilling their tanks, and some motorists may encounter some gas stations that are out of service, but it should be extremely limited.”

Find more information on gas prices here.


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