Fearing fuel shortages related to coronavirus disruptions, the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) and three fuel groups are urging regulators to issue an hours-of-service (HOS) waiver for transporting fuel.
“In some states, our members have already started to see consumers rush to the pumps, which can disrupt access to fuel for those who need it most,” the groups warned in a March 17 letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). “Issuing a nationwide HOS waiver for the transportation of fuel will help mitigate a broader run on fuel.”
The groups pointed out that the FMCSA’s nationwide emergency waiver issued on March 13 that exempted commercial carriers from HOS regulations for the transport of emergency supplies to hospitals, and for emergency restocking of grocery shelves, did not include fuel.
“We support the HOS Waiver for the delivery of essential supplies critical to supporting public health during this crisis,” the letter states. “Without access to fuel, however, manufacturers are unable to provide supplies to hospitals, businesses, and homes. Moreover, workers at essential businesses – including first responders and hospital workers – need fuel to get to their jobs. In addition, emergency response vehicles need uninhibited access to fuel.”
NATSO said that FMCSA is “taking the request under advisement.”
In addition to NATSO, the letter was signed by the National Association of Convenience Stores, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America and the Petroleum Marketing Association of America.