AAA Ohio Reports Increase In “Out-Of-Gas” Calls

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It happens every time, when gas prices approach $4 a gallon, people change their habits. One of those habits could be putting fewer gallons in the tank. AAA has seen an increase in out-of-gas calls.(Photo: shockingbird (flickr))
It happens every time, when gas prices approach $4 a gallon, people change their habits. One of those habits could be putting fewer gallons in the tank. AAA has seen an increase in out-of-gas calls.(Photo: shockingbird (flickr))

It happens every time, when gas prices approach $4 a gallon, people change their habits. One of those habits could be putting fewer gallons in the tank. AAA has seen an increase in out-of-gas calls.

“The higher the price, the closer the people are cutting the edge,” said AAA Ohio roadside assistance technician Charles Pierce.

Pierce said when gas prices spike, people begin to take more chances.

“Well, maybe I’ll just put $3 in. Some people [say], ‘Well I put $2 in five days ago.’ Well, $2? That’s less than a gallon. You’re not going very far,” Pierce said.

Ohio’s average price for a gallon of regular gas stands at $3.82. While it’s below the all-time high of $4.05 a gallon set in 2008, it’s still a buck more expensive than it was a year ago.

And AAA Ohio reports a jump in the number of members calling them because they ran out of gas. Statewide, out-of-gas calls are up 20 percent over last year.

That means busier days for AAA roadside assistance techs.

A man stranded in a pick-up truck sticks his arm out of the window and waves.

Tom Goursh said his gas gauge does not work right.

“I thought I had more than I did. And actually the gas station was the next stop after the post office. But I didn’t quite make it,” Goursh said.

Goursh said since gas prices have spiked, he does not get gas as often either.

“I have been waiting longer to put gas in. [I'm] not always putting a fill up on it. Last time I filled it up it was over $75,” he said laughing. “So, I’ve been waiting longer than I should, obviously.”

While letting the gas get too low increases the risk of getting stranded, Central Ohio AAA manager Phillip Ferguson said it also increases the chance of a costly repair.

“That will clog up your fuel pump. And if your fuel pump gets clogged, you might be having to replace a fuel pump which could be anywhere from $600 to $800. So, it’s really not good to be running your tank down low,” Ferguson said.

In Central Ohio, out-of-gas calls are actually down slightly from last year. But AAA suspects that’s because people are driving less because of the higher gas prices.

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