Shortage of fuel truck drivers, a “car rental apocalypse”, and a bottleneck in the chlorine gas supply signal a long, hot summer of discontent.
The effects of 2020’s Wuhan Virus pandemic have resulted in shortages that could impact American summer vacation plans.
While it looks like we averted the toilet paper crisis, National Tank Truck Carrier said the after-effects of pandemic closures have led to fuel truck driver shortages. If this situation is not resolved quickly, we might be in for fuel shortages and price increases.
In a more normal year, perhaps 10 percent of the country’s fuel tankers might be idle, but NTTC says that number is between 20–25 percent in 2021. “We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it,” Ryan Streblow, NTTC’s executive VP, told CNN.
Driving a tanker full of fuel requires more training than hauling bulk cargo in a class 8 truck, but the pandemic sidelined drivers as fuel demand dropped, causing many more drivers to leave the industry. And the schools that could train new drivers were obviously closed for public health reasons, compounding the labor shortage.
Even if Americans come upon fuel, many find it difficult to book rental cars during what is referred to as a “car-rental apocalypse.”
Travel is projected to boom this summer as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and pent-up demand for travel continues to grow tangentially. As a result, car rental companies like Enterprise and Hertz previously told Insider that they have begun seeing strong demand for rental cars through the summertime.
However, this skyrocketing interest in rental cars — combined with decreased fleet sizes after several companies had to sell off chunks of their fleets in order to preserve money during COVID-19 — has created what some are calling a “car-rental apocalypse.”
If you’re planning your first vacation in over a year, you might want to look out for rental car prices. This “apocalypse” is causing popular travel destinations like Hawaii, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, and Puerto Rico to see booked out fleets and rental-car prices up to over $700 a day. This has even pushed tourists headed to Hawaii to rent U-Hauls vans instead.
The massive rental-car shortage is causing vehicle rental companies to turn to car auctions to regrow the fleet quickly. Taking advantage of the new market opportunities, individuals are also renting out their second cars.
Finally, Americans who plan to avoid traveling entirely and enjoy their pools may also be out of luck. There is also a pandemic-related chlorine shortage.
The country is in the midst of a growing chlorine shortage. And that’s causing some pool supply stores to limit the amounts people can buy.
That could be a problem, since a lot of people added pools to their homes during the pandemic in lieu of a summer vacation. And a major chemical plant fire in Louisiana last August has created supply issues, as an estimated 800 tons of pool chlorine were lost.
That’s going to make it more expensive to keep pools clean. IHS Markit predicts chlorine prices could jump 70% this summer, after already doubling in some areas in the months following the fire at BioLab. The real effects of that fire haven’t been felt, as it took place right before Labor Day, when many pools close for the summer.
For example, a 50-pound bucket of three-inch stabilized chlorine tablets from the In the Swim brand used to sell for $109. It’s now $169.99 on Amazon. Many retailers, including Leslie’s Pool Supplies, are out of 50-pound buckets of certain chlorine tablets.
Anyone who is supposedly "confused," by my below tweet should probably read the awful Biden job report out today, then take a peek at the rising prices of raw materials that we're seeing and then finally google "Jimmy Carter inflation"….Things will make a lot more sense to you! https://t.co/ZJ6142EJIE pic.twitter.com/77bqHP2ubh
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 7, 2021
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