Demand could lead to scattered gas shortages this summer

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But AAA says there is ample gasoline supply across the country

MEMPHIS, Tenn – Gas prices in Memphis are up $1.31 from the same period last year, but the American Automobile Association says, so far, there are no signs of any fuel shortages across the state.

“Last year was not anywhere close to normal gas pricings,” said AAA spokesperson Megan Cooper. “We were in the height of a pandemic at the time, and we were seeing stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions and not a huge demand for gasoline.”

But with more Americans expected to hit the roads this summer and a shortage of fuel truck drivers, some in the industry are predicting big problems at the pump.

Lack of tanker truck drivers could lead to gas shortages this summer

AAA says as gasoline demands increase, gas stations are working to adjust delivery schedules to keep pace. However, deliveries may be delayed in a small number of markets this summer, causing selection stations to see low to no fuel at some pumps for short periods of one to two days.

“Road trips are likely to be very popular. More people will be out and driving. So, it could be we see some of those short-term issues pop up in more touristy destinations. Beaches and mountains and places like may see some pumps affected,” said Cooper.

At the Kroger Fuel Station on Poplar Plaza recently, several pumps were out of gas and out of service. However, Kroger says they didn’t believe it has anything to do with a shortage of tanker truck drivers.

“I can’t speak to other fuel centers and why they are out of gas. We are simply waiting on our drivers to bring fuel,” said Teresa Dickerson with Kroger.

AAA insists the U.S. is not looking at a gas supply shortage and says there is ample gasoline supply across the country.

“From what we are seeing, even those stations that might be out for a couple of days, in most places, you can go right down the street or somewhere within a short distance and still be able to find gasoline and be able to fuel up your car,” Cooper said.

Tennessee Average Gas Prices 

The average price of gasoline is $2.75 in Memphis, $2.70 in Tennessee, and $2.93 nationwide.

AAA says compared to May 2019, U.S. gasoline demand is down only 4% and gas prices are, on average, just two cents more.

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