FLORHAM PARK –With gas prices approaching record levels, motorists who attempt to stretch a tank of gas too far could end up stranded at the roadside. AAA cautions drivers not to allow your car to run out of fuel-it could put you in a potentially dangerous situation and could also result in costly repair bills.
“Although some motorists are trying to be resourceful and delay fuel expenditures by driving until their gas tank is nearly empty, this can sometimes do more harm than good,” says Jeff Santana, manager of the AAA New Jersey Car Care Center in Springfield.
Costly Repairs Can Result from Running on Empty
Running a vehicle extremely low on fuel may cause sediment in the bottom of the tank, which can clog the fuel pump pickup, the fuel filter or even the fuel injectors. In addition, when a minimum level of fuel is not maintained, it could cause the electric fuel pump inside the tank to overheat. The cost to replace that one component alone can be $500 or more.
Dangers of Running Out of Gas
Running out of gas also can put the personal safety of you and your passengers in jeopardy should the vehicle suddenly become immobilized on the roadway. “Power steering and brakes can be lost when the engine dies, and you could end up stranded in the middle of a busy highway without the ability to move your vehicle. Fortunately, out-of-gas situations are completely avoidable just by keeping an eye on the fuel gauge,” noted Santana.
Finding the Lowest Priced Gas Before Hitting “E”
AAA recommends maintaining at least a quarter tank of fuel at all times. Everyone today is looking to save money by finding the lowest priced gas before they fill up. AAA offers several free tools that you can use to plan your fill-ups in advance, which will help you save money and avoid running out of gas.
Both the TripTik® Travel Planner on AAA.com and the free AAA TripTik® Mobile iPhone app can help drivers plan efficient routes for errands and locate the best places to stop for gas along the way. Both tools allow drivers to compare frequently updated fuel costs at gas stations near their location.
Safe, Smart Ways to Save on Gas
Rather than stretching your fuel supply too far, AAA encourages you to make a few simple changes in your driving habits that can greatly improve fuel economy.
“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,” said Santana.
Speed also is a key factor in conserving fuel. 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 Santana.
AAA offers more than 40 ways motorists can reduce the amount of fuel they consume in its Gas Watchers Guide brochure, available online at AAA.com/PublicAffairs.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
Locally, the AAA New Jersey Automobile Club provides automotive, travel, insurance, financial and educational services to residents of Essex, Morris and Union Counties. Visit AAA online at AAA.com.
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