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Wyoming Governor Suspends Truck Driver Hour Caps to Get More Fuel to Firefighting Planes

Last Tuesday, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon followed South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem in issuing an executive order allowing truckers to drive extra hours in order to prevent possible fuel shortages west of the Missouri. We’re not actually running dry at any gas stations; it’s airports and specifically fire-fighting aircraft that are short of fuel:

“In particular, the concern was ensuring that we had adequate aviation fuel for the Forest Service, for air support and those types of actions,” said Michael Pearlman, Gordon’s communications director. “And so part of the reason [Gordon] signed the executive order was really to make sure that it wasn’t a transportation hiccup that was preventing fuel from making it to its destination, where it was needed.”

…Wyoming is already facing a shortage of aviation fuel — particularly the jet fuel used to power larger planes — that is impacting commercial and general aviation airports throughout the state.

Both Dubois Municipal Airport and Hot Springs County Airport ran out of jet fuel as a result of the shortage, severely hampering operations, said Brian Olsen, aeronautics administrator for WYDOT.

“As far as our commercial service airports, I believe that they all have a supply right now,” Olsen said. “It’s pretty tight.”

And though Wyoming has not experienced significant shortages of diesel or gasoline this summer, concerns about future scarcity prompted the governor to preemptively include those fuels in the order, Reiner said.

“The same issues that are affecting aviation fuel have the potential to negatively impact the supply of diesel and gasoline,” he said [Nicole Pollack, “Governor Gordon Issues Emergency Rule to Increase Fuel Supply During Wildfire Season,” Casper Star Tribune, 2021.07.21].

Unlike Governor Noem, who sloppily voided ten sections of federal motor carrier safety regulations, Governor Gordon took the time to specify the one rule, 49 CFR §395.3, that he is suspending to allow drivers to put in more time behind the wheel. Unlike Governor Noem, Governor Gordon is leaving in place the maximum driving hours for bus drivers, drive-time logging requirements, and other safety rules that Governor Noem blindly and unnecessarily suspended. Governor Gordon also correctly places the caveat that drivers still can’t drive tired in the effective Therefore portion of his order; Governor Noem tossed that caution into the prefatory and less clearly binding Whereas clauses of her order.


  1. Jake 2021-07-26 09:01

    Competency counts!

  2. John 2021-07-26 12:56

    Ellsworth AFB receives its fuel from Wyoming refineries.
    It was a dumb time of year to have a major bomber training exercise – at the height of fire fighting season, at the height of summer driving (high demand and prices). (Jet fuel is merely a highly refined distillate from the same petroleum.)
    Jes sayin’.

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