Shortage of fuel truck drivers could lead to pains at the pump

If you’re planning a summer road trip this year, it could be tougher to put fuel in your tank and might cost you more money as there are fewer truck drivers hauling fuel where it needs to go.

Karim Muse has spent the last two months learning the basics of driving a big rig. For him, this career path was an easy choice.

"School is not really my thing, so that’s one of the main reasons I came over here, I could really be making a good income," said Muse.

Right now, the trucking industry is in dire need of others like Muse.

"The driver shortage has been a thing for a while, but Minnesota specifically right now," said Joshua Winger of the Interstate Truck Driving School.

One place Minnesotans may feel the driver shortage is when it comes to filling up at the gas pump. While there is expected to be plenty of fuel available as more drive this summer, there may not be enough tanker truck drivers to get the gas to the stations.

"Fuel costs dropped, the amount of fuel moving around the country just stagnated and so tanker companies saw a drastic drop in business," said Carl Borleis of the Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence.

Now that the demand is returning, those specialized drivers – many who were laid off during the pandemic – are a lot harder to get back, especially when more truck driving jobs that pay the same are opening up closer to home.

"When you have the choice between spending most of the week away from your family and away from your home or you have the other option, which is to sleep in your bed every night, the choice is pretty simple," said Winger.

A petroleum analyst at GasBuddy told FOX 9 he doesn’t believe the gas shortage will hit all areas of the country the same, but truck drivers will still be needed to transport the nation’s necessities.

"It’s a really, really good industry and everything really does depend on trucking," said Winger.