The Colonial Pipeline is back up and running at approximately 80% capacity, with full capacity to return soon. With the worst of it behind us, now is a good time to reflect on what we can learn from this gas shortage debacle.
The Words of George Carlin
Most people might think of George Carlin as a comedian, but we consider him more of a philosopher. He once said, “think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” If anyone ever needed further evidence of this, look at how the average four-wheel driver reacted to news of a shortage of gasoline that they knew would only be temporary. People lined up around the block to pay extra for gasoline that would ultimately be replenished in a month. Maybe fill up an extra canister and walk to places that are within a two mile radius of the house, but filling plastic tubs with gasoline can only end in disaster.
It is no surprise that professional drivers are better at driving than people who drive on average only forty miles per day. When driving around four-wheelers, it is best to assume that they are terrible drivers. By doing this, you will drive more predictably and avoid accidents, where (for some odd reason) truckers get a disproportionate amount of blame.
Diversify and Exploit
When the gas shortage hit, federal regulators relaxed rules regarding the shipment of fuel, allowing logistical companies with the means to deliver more fuel the ability to make a pretty penny.
Whether you are an owner-operator with dreams of expanding your fleet or already own 200 trucks and trailers, it can literally pay to be prepared for shifts in the market. For another example, reefer hauling companies made bank during the start of vaccine distribution, either by hauling the vaccines itself or other goods that needed to compete with the needles.
Now, however, is not the time to diversify, as trailer and truck prices soar through the roof due to increased demand across the board. When the time comes and the price is right, however, seize the opportunity to haul different goods. People who were “foolish” enough to buy trucks during the dog days of the coronavirus pandemic made off like bandits.
Electric May Be the Future
One of the upsides to electric trucks is that the fuel source is so versatile. Electricity can be obtained through hydro, wind, and solar, but also through nonrenewables such as coal and even diesel. Because of the abundance of sources, a shortage in one will only result in a minor increase in price per kilowatt-hour. Electric trucks may be a better investment now more than ever to be prepared for any gas shortage in the future.
Other fuels such as natural gas and hydrogen may also be in the cards, but it is possible that those pipelines may also one day be hacked and shut off temporarily, whereas for electric vehicles all you truly need is a portable generator and a compatible fuel source to keep moving.
Above all else, perhaps the best lesson is to stay calm in the face of adversity. It appears no matter what hits the trucking industry, it always manages to bounce back more resilient than before. In that way, trucking is one of the industries that best represents the American spirit.
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