Motorists taking chances with the fuel gauge on ‘E’

| 7/8/2008

As fuel prices soar and budgets become tighter, many motorists are putting less in their tanks and trying to squeeze a few more miles out of their last fill-up.

Some AAA offices have reported 200 to 300 calls a month from stranded and out-of-gas motorists during the past three months, about twice the usual number, said Joseph Ferraro, vice president for auto services.

Allstate’s motor club also is seeing an increase in calls from drivers who are out of gas, spokeswoman Shelley Beeler told The Arizona Daily Star. In the first five months of this year, the club received 42 percent more calls from people who needed gas because they’d run out, compared with the same time period last year.

The New York Times reported that officials with the CVS Samaritan Van Program, which provides free roadside assistance, said they have seen a 30 percent to 40 percent spike in the number of stops it makes for people who have run out of gas.

And in Canada The Canadian Press reported that tow-truck operators in major urban centers say they’ve seen an increase in the number of motorists running out of fuel as they gamble with their gas tanks. In Toronto, one towing company reported a 40 percent increase in business compared with last year.

– By Elizabeth Andersen, staff editor