Why You Might Not See Many Ice Cream Trucks This Year

Ice cream trucks are one of those deeply-rooted traditions of the summer season, much like building castles in the sand, hanging out with family at poolside barbecues, and enjoying mid-day refreshers of watermelon slices and ice-cold lemonade. As a kid, chances are good that you had your favorite pick from your neighborhood ice cream vendor, whether it was a chocolate-covered banana, a creamsicle, or one of those cartoon character ice cream bars with gumballs for eyes. For many Americans, the mere sound of an ice cream truck's approaching music brings with it the essence of childhood and long summer days of rushing up to the mobile window for a frozen treat. 

But are the days of ice cream trucks numbered? The short answer is yes, according to local news station KRCG, but only temporarily. 2022 in particular is turning out to be a year of hardship for ice cream truck operators. The reasons why are almost as varied as the different types of treats on an ice cream truck's menu.

Why ice cream trucks are hitting the brakes

One of the biggest reasons why ice cream trucks are slated to be a rarer sight this year is because of global supply chain shortages. Mobile ice cream businesses are having trouble getting the inventory they rely on for sales, with some ice cream truck drivers reporting they have to wait months for their ice cream orders to come in (via KRCG). Even certain crucial ice cream toppings are in short supply. For ice cream trucks — and most other businesses, for that matter — less inventory inevitably means fewer sales.

But that's not all. On top of supply chain hiccups and missing links, ice cream truck drivers are also facing the issue of an increase in gas prices. Insider explains that most customers are drawn to these trucks for their convenience and affordability. As gas prices climb, ice cream truck operators are now forced to increase their prices if they want to stay in business. How much would you pay for a Drumstick? Maybe not as much as they'll cost if fuel prices stay elevated.

While all this sounds like bad news for the future of ice cream trucks, there's a reason to chill out. You'll still find these mobile sweet purveyors cruising around city streets and playing their nostalgic tunes. Just don't be surprised if you see fewer flavor options or a couple missing toppings for the rest of the summer.