Heading over the holiday weekend, both fireworks and fuel reportedly are in short supply. This potentially puts a damper on many Americans’ plans to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Reports of fuel shortages, which led to spiking gas prices, are going around town. At the same time, fireworks are reportedly in short supply. It’s one of the many products hit by an ongoing supply chain crisis.
Gas Prices Spike As Shortage Continues
Soon as millions of Americans hit the highways this weekend, they’ll face higher gasoline prices the moment they take the first stop. With low supply comes high demand, so Americans better prepare for higher fuel prices as well. However, even those willing to pay more may find too many fuel stations out of fuel.
Currently, the national average for the price of a gallon of gas is $3.10, which is the highest since October 2014. The current price may only be 2% higher than that of Memorial Weekend, but it’s 42% higher compared to a year ago. Last year, demand ground to a halt as everybody stayed home except for essential business.
Lack Of Truck Drivers Affecting The Holiday Weekend
However, supply has nothing to do with the shortage and the rise in prices. Experts point to the shortage of tank truck drivers licensed to handle fuel runs as the main culprit.
The lack of certified available drivers is presently creating a bottleneck in the supply chain. Many gasoline stations are reporting that they’re unsuccessful in getting gas delivered – at any price.
True enough, the outages are presently scattered all over the US. Tom Kloza is the global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, which monitors prices for the American Automobile Association.
Kloza lamented that gas station owners used to consider fuel truck delivery schedules as an afterthought. Now, it’s their priority. Even so, Kloza projects that the increased demand for deliveries will require an additional 2,000 to 3,000 runs per day. “There just aren’t the drivers to do that,” he noted.
A Fireworks Shortage Is Looming
Meanwhile, fireworks are flying off the shelves due to strong demand and weak supplies. Many customers are now buying early to ensure they get fireworks for the coming holiday weekend.
Tom Skoog, the owner of Big Fireworks, couldn’t believe the development. “It was crazy, I mean we had lines all the way around the building.”
Fireworks are among the many products that fell victim to the current supply chain crisis. Vendors reported that it’s a challenge to keep items on stock. Mark Joseph, a Sparky’s Fireworks Outlet owner in Michigan, said that Sparky’s remains unable to replenish its inventory.
He expects it can take years before they can regain their usual inventory levels. “We’re only able to get about 50% of what we need and that’s the whole United States,” he said.
2020 Was Banner Year For Fireworks
Last year, fireworks posted a record high, as the pandemic forced families to celebrate the holiday weekend using their own fireworks shows. The surge in demand led stores to sell out their stocks last year. With replenishment this year coming in slow, stocks are depleting fast.
“Unless shipping picks up, supplies aren’t going to last until the Fourth [of July],” Wesley Shediger, GM of Shelton Fireworks said. Meanwhile, William Weimer, vice president of Phantom Networks, one of the largest US consumer fireworks brands, managed to stockpile because it ordered supplies before the shipping crisis began last August.
Shipping Container Shortage
Even as demand remained high this year, importing fireworks from China isn’t easy. This time, the culprit is the global shipping container shortage. The lack of containers made it more expensive to prioritize shipments.
In addition, fireworks are classified as dangerous goods and not an essential item. As a result, shipping fireworks aren’t exactly a priority for shippers. They also have less allotted space in freighters. Shediger said that transportation costs for Phantom Fireworks more than doubled this year. As a result, they hiked prices for the second time in two years.
Watch the 11 Alive News reporting that Yes, there’s a fireworks shortage and prices are higher:
Do you have your holiday weekend preparations ready? Did you fill up on fuel and stocked up on fireworks?
Let us know how you plan to celebrate given the difference in supplies and restrictions this year. Share your comments below.