Drivers across the D.C. area have begun to risk running out of gas to avoid high gas prices. A spokesperson for AAA said the company has received an increase in calls from stranded drivers.
“I don’t think anyone can argue that people are in some cases running out of gas and that this is a tough time for many families across the country," spokesperson Ragina Ali said.
Another possible contributing factor for the increase in calls is more cars on the road this year than last, Ali said.
In April, May and so far in June there have been more than 3,000 calls for out-of-gas vehicles in the D.C. area. That’s an increase of 4% over the same time last year. Nationally, during this time period, there have been more than 200,000 drivers stranded because they’ve run out of gas.
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At a gas station in Merrifield, Virginia, two men who drive for a living said they never like to get too close to empty.
“When I get down to a quarter of a tank I go and fill up – I’m not getting down to ‘E',” James said.
“Years ago, when I was a poorer man ... but, no, I don’t even mess around with that no more,” said another driver, Robert.
Ali agrees that driving around with low gas is bad practice.
“You really do not want to go below a quarter tank of gas if at all possible," Ali said. "We really recommend you probably try to stay above a half gallon.”
Gas prices in the region, such as the Merrifield gas station, have gone up to $5 and $6.