• COVID-19: Government Broadens Federal HOS Waiver to Include Fuel

  • COVID-19: Government Broadens Federal HOS Waiver to Include Fuel

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has added fuel to the
    list of emergency supplies covered by the federal Hours of Service waiver for
    commercial drivers aiding relief efforts under nationwide state of emergency
    due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

    The March 13 emergency declaration addressing the coronavirus did not spell out
    that the HOS waiver applied to fuel transport.

    However, a coalition of industry trade groups -- the National Association of
    Convenience Stores, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the
    Petroleum Marketers Association of America and the Society of Independent
    Gasoline Marketers of America -- had asked the FMCSA to add fuel to the
    declaration to prevent shortages.

    "We support the HOS Waiver for the delivery of essential supplies critical to
    supporting public health during this crisis," the trade groups said in a
    March17 letter to the agency. "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."

    The associations said that in some states their members were already seeing
    consumers "rush to the pumps" and they said that can disrupt relief
    efforts."Issuing a nationwide HOS waiver for the transportation of fuel will
    help mitigate a broader run on fuel," the letter said.

    The letter also explained the crisis created by COVID-19 could worsen the
    national shortage of commercial drivers. "Losing drivers due to illness or
    quarantine will only amplify the shortage of drivers making a nationwide HOS
    Waiver for the transportation of fuel even more necessary," the associations
    said.

    A copy of the March 18 declaration that now includes fuel says the waiver took
    effect immediately and remains in effect until the end of the emergency or
    until April 12, whichever happens first.

    "We're happy with the expanded waiver," PMAA President Rob Underwood told OPIS
    in an email. "This is what we urged FMCSA to do and we are prepared to ask for
    a broader waive if needed for all commercial refined product deliveries."

    --Reporting by Donna Harris, dharris@opisnet.com; Editing by Michael Kelly,
    michael.kelly3@ihsmarkit.com




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