Running on empty: More motorists stranded as gas prices rise

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by Alex Sanz / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on April 25, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 25 at 5:49 PM

HOUSTON—The rise in gas prices has increased the number of drivers running on empty, and that—according to AAA—has led to a spike in the number of drivers in need of roadside help.

AAA says the number of calls for roadside help was up 39 percent in Washington, D.C.

Calls were up 26 percent in parts of California, Nevada and Utah.

Calls were up 5 percent in Texas.

Boyd Baily, a deputy with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said he has seen the number of calls grow in and around Houston over the past several weeks.

"I see them running on E," said Lavance Kirkland, a Houston resident. "Some of them, when you see them on the side of the road, they won’t start back up."

Experts said squeezing the last drop of gas out of a tank sounds like a money saver, but cautioned it could harm your vehicle.

Sediment can build up in near-empty gas tanks, according to Sarah Schimmer, a spokesperson for AAA Texas.

Fuel injectors can clog and repairs can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars, she said.

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