Trenholm State trucking curriculum could help national tanker driver shortage

Trenholm State could help national tanker driver shortage

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Filling up your car could be a challenge this summer. The reason is there is a shortage of gasoline tanker drivers.

At the Trenholm State Community College truck driving school, the door is opening for Orlando Mickle to earn his CDL license. Mickle is just weeks away from graduating. Beyond that, Mickle wants to get his hazardous material certification.

“If you’re a good driver, I mean, you’ll be trained for it. I love it,” said Mickle.

The school doesn’t offer that kind of training, but that could change in the near future.

“In February of 2022, the federal government is supposed to come out with a new EL-DT training, an entry level driver level training. People that want to add hazardous materials to their license has to go through some type of training,” said Trenholm State Community College Trucking School Coordinator Dean Faust.

The sooner, the better perhaps because of as today 25% of the country’s gasoline tankers are sitting idle, according to the National Tank Truck Carriers. That’s because those drivers left the business one year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the demand for gasoline to drop.

What could all of this mean for you this summer on the road?

“You know, the worse case we might see a station run out a day or a half a day, something like that and it’ll be very spotty. Honestly, I don’t think we’ll see much of it at all,” said AAA Marketing Director Clay Ingram.

“I really wish I could do it now,” said Mickle.

Mickle will soon pocket his CDL license and then keep trucking for his hazardous permit, another opportunity to earn more money and fill those gasoline tanks across the southeast.

The time frame to earn a basic CDL license at Trenholm is six weeks, according to Faust.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.