Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2021 Travelers Not Impacted By Jet Fuel Shortage

by Leanne Stahulak

Good news for out-of-towners attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. According to Keloland News, jet fuel shortages affecting other western states aren’t hitting South Dakota as hard.

The news outlet spoke to Patrick Dame, the executive director of the Rapid City Regional Airport. He confirmed that the airport was not experiencing the same difficulties as other airports like the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Though the Rapid City Regional Airport has increased air traffic, probably from visitors to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Dame said there are few complaints about jet fuel. This could be because of Gov. Kristi Noem’s executive order.

She issued Executive Order 2021 -10 on July 17. It granted extended service hours for “the commercial delivery of petroleum products in South Dakota,” according to South Dakota State News.

The executive order extends until the day after the rally ends, on August 16. For 30 days, it declares a state of emergency, overriding federal regulations about truck drivers. For deliveries of gas, diesel, jet fuel, and ethyl alcohol, drivers can work longer hours than federal guidelines normally allow.

“We are at the height of our tourism season, as well as a busy time for our agriculture industry. Maintaining the supply of fuel is crucial to preventing a disruption of service to two of our state’s major industries,” Noem said. “This 30-day order is meant to ensure a steady supply of fuel is available to our visitors, businesses, farmers, and ranchers in the western part of the state.’’

It also helps visitors from out of town to visit the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally more easily. And with thousands of bikes driving in and needing gas, a shortage of petroleum products would leave several visitors stranded in the area.

Jet Fuel Shortage Hits Western States Right Before Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began on Friday, August 6, and it goes until Sunday, August 15. About two weeks before the rally started, Keloloand News reported that the Reno-Tahoe International Airport faced severe jet fuel shortages.

At the time, Nevada officials said that the shortages “could delay cargo delivery and passenger travel… in the coming days.”

More people began flying this summer as vaccination rates increased and travel to other states opened up. But the news outlet also reported that the wildfires raging across the West have increased the need for firefighting aircraft as well.

Nevada lawmakers came together in a joint statement last month about the shortage situation. “To be clear, further failure to secure adequate fuel supplies is unacceptable,” wrote Gov. Steve Sisolak, U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, and U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei.

But a Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority spokesperson said that a number of factors contributed to the shortage.

“There’s just nobody available to drive the trucks of fuel in here, and it’s hard to predict how long the shortage will last,” spokesperson Stacey Sunday said.

Luckily for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally participants, Gov. Noem’s orders seem to be keeping petroleum products coming into the state.