Gas prices are the highest in two years, and drivers may soon face more headaches at the pump.

A new bill in the New York State Senate could raise gas prices another 55 cents per gallon, according to the Albany Times Union. The Climate and Community Investment Act would also raise home heating costs 26% as part of an effort to meet state green energy goals and combat climate change.

WHAM reports more than 24 Democratic senators have backed the proposed carbon tax, which would generate $2.3 billion in revenue but impact consumers.

“We do believe that the benefits way outweigh the hurt that people may be feeling with this legislation,” bill sponsor and NYS Senator Kevin Parker said.

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Gas prices are $2.90 per gallon nationwide as of Monday, according to AAA, and averaging $2.87 in the Syracuse area. That’s the highest since May 2019, according to GasBuddy; average gas prices haven’t topped $3 per gallon since 2014, and fell as low as $1 during the coronavirus lockdowns last year.

But demand is expected to go up this summer as more of the country opens up, thanks to Covid-19 vaccinations and pent-up desires for vacation travel.

CNN Business reports fuel shortages are possible this summer as the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) trade group said 20-25% of tanker trucks will not be moving gasoline due to a lack of qualified drivers. By comparison, only 10% of trucks refueling gas stations were sitting idle at this time in 2019.

The pandemic is partly to blame, but NBC reports older drivers are also retiring and turnover is high in the industry. Recruiting new drivers is hard because it takes more training to drive a truckload of gasoline than other cargo, and not every driver wants to take the required tests and get certified.

There have already been spot shortages reported in Florida, Arizona and Missouri due to a lack of tank truck drivers. However, if the U.S. sees pumps empty this summer, it won’t be due to petroleum supply shortages like in the 1970s gas crisis.

“So there’s actually no shortage of gas,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told KSTP. The problem is simply just replenishing gas stations as quickly as consumers are filling their tanks. And the simple reason is there just aren’t enough truckers.”

©2021 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit syracuse.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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