As gas prices soar, more and more folks are opting to put a hurting on their vehicle by driving on nearly empty.
Recent surveys are finding that various AAA locations throughout the country are being deluged by increasing out-of-gas calls. AAA Mid-Atlantic reported recently that these types of distress calls were up 39 percent in D.C., 38 percent in Maryland and 28 percent in Virginia. While on the west coast, AAA of Southern California state, that they receive an average of nearly 16,000 calls per month from members who are stranded due to empty fuel tanks.
Pushing your gas tank to the limit will cause more harm than good according to experts. Driving with less than a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle may cause sediment in the bottom of the tank to clog the fuel pump pickup, the fuel filter or even the fuel injectors. When the level of fuel is not maintained it could cause the electric fuel pump inside the tank to overheat. The price to replace that one component alone can result in a bill of $500 and upwards.
Driving on a nearly empty tank can also put you in jeopardy in other ways as well. Suppose your vehicle stops running on a highway. “Power steering and brakes can be lost when the engine dies, and drivers can end up stranded in the middle of a busy highway without the ability to move their vehicle. Fortunately, out-of-gas situations are completely avoidable just by keeping an eye on the fuel gauge,” notes John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information.
Instead of attempting to run your car near ‘E’ and risk some costly damage, try stretching the gas that you do have by incorporating more fuel savvy driving tips into your driving routine. “Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, go easy on the gas and brake pedals. If there is a red light ahead, ease off the gas and coast up to it rather than waiting until the last second to brake. Once the light turns green, accelerate gently rather than making a ‘jack rabbit’ start,” advises Nielsen.
If you’re a speed demon, then keep this in mind, the fuel efficiency of most vehicles decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. “Every additional 5 mph above 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. Take it easy on the road and you’ll see a tremendous savings at the pump,” added Nielsen.
Try being more fuel savvy instead of fuel foolish, check out AAA’s Gas Watcher’s Guide.