WABASH VALLEY (WTHI) -- A shortage of truck drivers is creating problems for supply and demand needs nationwide. Local residents are seeing the impact in the Wabash Valley as well. A few gas stations in the area are running low on fuel, but not because there is not enough gasoline supply. It's because of the ongoing shortage of truck drivers the nation is facing today.
Emily Crapo is the logistics director at Morris Trucking in Terre Haute, Indiana. She says this problem started before the pandemic began but became worse as time went on.
"The pandemic really affected truck drivers," she said. "It's an older population. Some of them just retired. They didn't come back into the industry."
She also says it's difficult to train and qualify new drivers, which is making the problem worse.
According to US Transport, the trucking industry is a vital part of our economy that accounts for moving 70% of all freight across the United States. Furthermore, 80% of communities rely on trucks for the delivery of everyday goods.
"Truck drivers are delivering anything that's on your table and anything that's in your closet," she said. "They are bringing all of the goods to your box stores that you are shopping at. They're getting them to the distribution centers that you order from Amazon or anything online."
But now, the declining number of truck drivers is making it more difficult to keep up with the rising demand of goods as the economy begins to reopen. Crapo says there is one key solution to this ongoing problem.
"We have to tap into a younger generation and get them trained earlier," she said. "We've got to start in high school and promote the profession more and make it more appealing to the youth."
The shortage of truck drivers is also creating problems for daily transportation. Several gas stations across the Wabash Valley are experiencing fuel shortages because there are not enough drivers to bring the fuel to the stations.
Meanwhile, the nationwide average price of gas topped the $3.00 mark today. This is the highest its been in more than seven years. In Indiana, the price remains slightly below three dollars at $2.97. But in Illinois, the average price for a gallon of gas is nearing $3.23.
Representatives from GasBuddy say the national average would have reached $3.00 even if the pipeline shutdown didn't happen last week. They say the reason for the price increase is due to increasing demand and the slow improvement in supply.