Increased demand, lack of transportation has drivers and service stations in Garfield County region running on empty
Bulk fuel transport drivers are wanted in the Garfield County area.
According to Mark Larson, vice president for the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, the shortage of bulk fuel transportation drivers isn’t new, but was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We still lost a lot of drivers through the pandemic through lack of use,” Larson said.
The shortage of truckers has been ongoing for months throughout the nation. Truckers with their commercial driver’s license must also undergo specialized training to haul hazardous materials such as petroleum and other fuels.
“If you have drivers retiring, too, that’ll create supply problems,” Larson said.
“In a lot of the rural areas, we haven’t experienced this before because a lot of drivers were career drivers for some of these companies. Now they’re starting to retire.”
Larson said gas stations have been increasing their orders to keep up with the influx of tourists flocking to the Roaring Fork Valley and other destinations.
“When everybody wants to load up and fill their tanks for the weekend, and with the holidays coming up, then the drivers won’t be able to get to everybody,” Larson said, referring to why some convenience stores have no gasoline or diesel to sell. “And people are moving.”
Regardless of the time of year, Garfield County local Natalie Price is constantly on the move. Price commutes from her home in Parachute to Glenwood Springs for work as a veterinary technician at All Dogs and Cats animal hospital. On Mondays, Price works at the veterinary hospital’s New Castle location.
Price said her vehicle showed the tank had 10 miles to go until empty.
“So I drove across the bridge to the Kum & Go, which I’m pretty sure is the only gas station in New Castle, and they were completely out,” Price said.
“So, then I drove to Silt, to the Kum & Go there, and they were completely out.”
Price headed across the street to the Sinclair station, only to learn unleaded gasoline was actively running out there, too.
“I paid for my gas in cash, and the pump was out when I tried to use it,” Price said.
“The next pump I went to ran out as well. So I got my money back, and was down to about 5-to-7 miles until empty.”
Price then tried the Golden Gate Petroleum and was able to fill her tank halfway.
“And then I made it home to Parachute,” Price said.
“I wouldn’t have made it had the last gas station in Silt been empty.”
Larson said the shortage of hazardous material truck drivers is nothing new, but he doesn’t expect the fuel shortages experienced by some service stations to continue unless the boom in visitors and travelers perpetuates.
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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