More Drivers Are Running Out of Gas as Prices Soar, AAA Finds

Gas prices are continuing to soar all over the country many drivers are running their cars toward the “empty” mark on the fuel gauge. Due to the astronomical prices that drivers must pay at the pump, many of them are neglecting to fill up their tanks. In turn, many drivers are running out of gas prompting more calls to AAA.

The higher gas prices go, drivers are filling up less

Fueling up a car at a gas station pump in Horbranz, Austria
Fueling up a car at a gas station | Felix Kästle/picture alliance via Getty Images

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It’s never a good idea to let your car run on fumes. By letting the fuel tank run low or dry, your car can run out of gas quicker than you might expect. Western Mass News reported that the latter has been the common case in recent months as drivers have been purchasing less fuel at the pump.

Mark Schieldrop, a spokesperson for AAA, told Wester Mass News, “There have been reports of people running out of fuel because they’re cutting it a little too close. And that’s an indication that people are putting as much as they can afford in their tank and not filling all the way up.”

This practice is leaving many drivers stranded on the side of the road, which in turn has increased the calls to AAA.

Shieldrop continued, “We actually saw a 25% increase in those calls and that sounds like a lot, but that’s really only about 1.5% of the total calls that we receive on a regular basis.”

Letting your car run on fumes can damage it

the instrument cluster on a car showing of a full fuel gauge and mileage until empty
An Instrument Cluster with Full Fuel Gauge | Nick Fewings via Unsplash

If you’re one of the many drivers that aren’t filling up their tank during these high-priced times, then keep in mind that letting the car run empty can damage it. If the fuel in the tank runs too low, then the car’s fuel pump won’t be lubed enough to run, which can cause it to fail. The remedy, in that case, would be to change out the fuel pump, which is not an easy task.

Depending on what type of car you have, a repair bill for a fuel pump replacement can cost anywhere from $220 to $1,062, according to Kelley Blue Book.

What to do if your car runs out of fuel

Shot of a a Circle K gas station sign with listed fuel prices
Fuel prices at Circle K | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If your car happens to run out of fuel, then it’s important to stay safe. First, you should pull over to the side of the road and ensure that you are not in the way of traffic. Next, you should remain in the car and buckle up until help arrives.

“Unfortunately, we see way too many roadside crashes and fatalities year after year and it’s actually a problem that’s been getting worse. So before you step out of your vehicle, consider your location,” Shieldrop noted.

Also, as far as keeping your car’s gas level at a good spot, it’s recommended to have at least a quarter-tank of gas at all times. Doing so will keep the fuel pump lubricated and you’ll have enough to gas to get you to a station should it start to run low.

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