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Valley gas shortage partly due to lack of truck drivers

KNXV Gas Tax Pump Driving Road Generic
Posted at 9:02 PM, Oct 18, 2021

PHOENIX — A nationwide shortage of truck drivers has left at least one Valley gas station without fuel.

A note left on the pump at a local Fry's gas station said, "we are experiencing a driver shortage and working with our suppliers."

Valley gas shortage Fry's

"Local deliveries aren't getting delivered as frequently as they were," said Tony Bradley, president, and CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association.

Additionally, finding drivers to deliver the gas and other goods is becoming a big problem.

Many drivers retired or left the business during the pandemic, according to Bradley.

And the pool of applicants isn't where it used to be.

Because trucking is regulated by the federal government, drivers can't use marijuana even if it's legal in their state. They also have to get the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing.

Bradley told ABC15 that some drivers would rather leave the industry than abide by the president's vaccine mandate.

"A lot of these drivers, frankly, don't want to be vaccinated," he said.

"We could lose a significant percentage of our drivers who just say, 'I'm not going to do it' and that's going to put more pressure on our supply chain," Bradley added.

Meanwhile, some trucking schools like Southwest Truck Driver Training said they've seen an increase in applicants.

The school stayed open during the pandemic because it was considered an essential business.

Still, the demand for new drivers is outpacing the number of qualified applicants.

Bradley said training takes time. There's also a stigma associated with truck driving but, in reality, it's a really good job.

"We're the ones out there right now delivering the vaccine, delivering toilet paper," he said.

"I'd like to say we're delivering hope," Bradley added.

According to Bradley, every company is different but new drivers can start off making more than $60,000 a year. He said that can increase to more than $100,000 after a few years.