AAA receiving more calls for cars running out of gas
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - With gas prices topping $5 a gallon, more drivers are running on fumes and some are even running out of gas, prompting more calls to AAA. The higher gas prices go, the lower the needle on the gas gauge goes for many drivers.
“There have been reports of people running out of fuel because they’re cutting it a little close,” said AAA Northeast spokesperson Mark Schieldrop.
Schieldrop told Western Mass News that top executives at gasoline retailers report drivers are buying less fuel at the pump.
“…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,” Schieldrop explained.
That’s leaving some drivers on the side of the road with not enough gas to get them where they need to go.
“We actually saw a 25 percent increase in those calls and that sounds like a lot, but really that’s only about 1.5 percent of the total calls that we receive on a regular basis,” Schieldrop noted.
Running on ‘E’ can have other consequences. In most cars, the fuel pump is inside the gas tank and needs to be submerged in gasoline in order to be cooled.
“So if you’re running on a mostly empty tank, the fuel lights on, and you’re sputtering along, that fuel pump may actually overheat and the last thing you want to do when you’re paying for high gas prices is to have to go to the repair shop and get that fuel pump replaced,” Schieldrop added.
That could run you upwards of $500. Getting stranded can also put you in harm’s way. Instead of getting out of your car, Schieldrop said it’s safer to stay inside it, buckled up, while you wait for help.
“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,” Schieldrop said.
Schieldrop told us it’s best to keep your tank at least a quarter full as we wait for relief at the pump, which may come as a result of high gas prices combined with inflation at a 41-year-high, driving down demand.
“People are going to have no choice but to cut back and we think that will reflect in those demand figures, which will in turn start to ease up some of those oil prices we’re seeing,” Schieldrop said.
He said, historically, gas prices fall after Memorial Day, but with Russian oil off the market and global uncertainty, he doesn’t foresee any short-term relief.
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