The world’s unquenchable thirst for oil has wide reaching effects on industries and consumers alike. The dropping price of crude oil is a welcome change for many and a shot to the heart for an unlucky few. While motorists and transport businesses relish the lower gas prices, oil workers are being laid off in droves. Recent emphasis on more environmentally friendly vehicles will be put on the back burner as hybrid car manufacturers see a drop in demand.
The effects are seen around the world, both positive and negative. In Alberta, Canada, 14,000 jobs were lost in February alone, with more cuts occurring in March. While these devastating job losses continue, there is light at the end of the tunnel for some, and a logical and seemingly simple solution. US trucking companies have a shortfall of around 35,000 drivers and are urgently in need of new employees to make their hauls. If you can no longer pump the oil out of the ground, pumping cheap diesel into a truck may be the answer.
Job openings in the trucking industry are at their highest point in almost 14 years. The millions of trucking jobs listed on employment sites attest to the challenges of attracting and retaining drivers for long-haul trucking companies. While the hours are long and being away from home is a strain, driving jobs are rewarding and are clearly available in high numbers. The only requirements for many positions are obtaining a commercial driving license and completing between four and eight weeks of training.
The transportation sector is already benefiting from lower fuel prices, but there is also the expectation that consumer spending will increase due to their own savings on gas. This two fold boost to the industry will see most forms of transport increasing business, lowering costs and increasing profits. Trucking and rail transport companies continue to vie for customers by offering competitive pricing, speed and reliability. Airlines see mixed results from lower fuel prices, the huge benefit in direct costs is offset somewhat by hedging losses from when prices were higher. Customers may see extra flight routes added but will have to fly in older aircraft, as these are more profitable to airlines during times of lower fuel prices. Ticket prices may reduce slightly as airlines compete with one another to gain more passengers for the extra flights made possible by lower fuel costs.
The pump prices of both gas and diesel are down by more than $1 since this time last year, with oil prices at their lowest in six years. While it is uncertain how long these luxuriously low prices will last, OPEC has committed to maintaining their production levels no matter how low the price drops, which gives some hope of these levels continuing. Travelers and transporters will enjoy reduced costs while they can and take a break from the recent tumultuous economic times. Employees who suffer job losses due to oil rig closures may gain new work in the flourishing transport industry. As far as oil prices are concerned, we can only wait and see what the future holds.