Orlando, Florida -- With the summer travel season on the horizon, and gas prices at near record levels, AAA anticipates more motorists will be stranded at the roadside this year because their vehicles have run out of gas.
During the months of June, July and August, AAA expects to dispatch fuel to approximately 116,000 motorists whose cars and trucks have empty tanks.
"Drivers need to keep an eye on the fuel gauge as well as the price at the pump," says Margaret Pittelkow, AAA's Managing Director of Roadside Assistance.
Running your vehicle's fuel tank dry, says AAA, is not only inconvenient, but could present a safety hazard or lead to costly mechanical problems down the road.
"We realize many motorists are trying to be resourceful and delay fuel expenditures by driving their car until the fuel tank is nearly empty," states John Nielsen, Director of AAA's Approved Auto Repair program.
However, this can do more harm than good adds Nielsen. "For example, running your vehicle extremely low on fuel may cause sediment in the bottom of the tank to clog the fuel pump pickup, the fuel filter or even your fuel injectors."
Plus, when you do not maintain a reasonable minimum level of fuel, Nielsen says, it may cause the electric fuel pump inside the tank to overheat. The cost to replace this one component alone can be $500 or more in parts and labor.
To maximize fuel efficiency and prevent expensive breakdowns, AAA suggests motorists have their vehicle serviced regularly and maintain at least a quarter tank of fuel at all times.
Beyond proper vehicle maintenance, increasing fuel efficiency is all up to the driver says AAA. If you are willing to modify your driving habits, there are many "easy to apply" ways to increase your car's fuel economy and save money on gas. All of these practical fuel-saving tips can be found in the AAA "Gas Watchers Guide" brochure, available at AAA club offices or by visiting www.aaa.com.