Amid pipeline crisis, gas prices in Pa. rising because of driver shortage

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CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) — All over the Southeast, drivers are frantically buying up all the gas they can find.

It’s a panicked reaction to a cyber attack against the main gas pipeline for the region.

You’ve probably noticed gas prices starting to rise in the Midstate, but not because of the attack. It’s because of a shortage, not of gas, but of truck drivers.

When talking about the actual product, there’s not a gas shortage anywhere, but there is a supply chain issue and delay in getting it to the pumps. It’s something the pipeline crisis only exacerbated.

According to AAA the average for a gallon of regular gas is up eight cents statewide compared to last week. The current average is $3.10. At Costco, drivers found it for $2.94.

“I know I needed gas today and was out and about and decided to swing into Costco. Wasn’t expecting a line at 2:00 in the afternoon,” Michael Volz said.

In some areas of the U.S., drivers are panic buying. It’s something industry experts say there’s no need for.

“I don’t think we’re seeing shortages yet. We are seeing a rise in demand which is driving prices up,” said Rebecca Oyler, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association.

In Pennsylvania there’s no gas shortage but a driver shortage.

“Before this most recent crisis, they had about 25% of their tanker trucks sitting idle because they didn’t have drivers to fill them and that’s compared to about 10% normally,” Oyler said.

It’s a good paying career but not easy to maneuver at first.

“In order to drive a gas tanker truck it’s not just a CDL license you need, but it’s other specific endorsements related to hazardous materials,” Oyler said.

In response to the pipeline crisis, the Biden administration has waived some fuel restrictions and is allowing drivers to spend more hours on the road.

“Even when this pipeline issue is resolved, hopefully later this week, we are going to see an increase in demand for gasoline this summer and our industry, truck drivers, are going to struggle to meet that demand,” Oyler said.

Oyler hopes the public sees the dire need and more people will step into the driver’s seat.

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