CINCINNATI — With gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon in Ohio, AAA’s emergency roadside assistance is receiving more calls for fuel and stranded cars after running out of gas.
“Gas prices have gone up, people are making those hard decisions,” said Kara Hitchens, spokesperson for AAA. “While we can’t make a direct line between gas prices and the number of calls, there’s that thought. That’s probably the general reason why.”
Right now, the average gallon of gas in Ohio is $4.01. This time last year it was $2.62.
In March 2021, AAA dispatchers covering the Cincinnati, Toledo and Dayton areas responded to 313 calls for fuel. So far this March, they’ve taken 375 calls for fuel. That's a nearly 20% increase.
“Those people are kind of pushing their luck and waiting until probably the last minute to get gas,” Hitchens said.
Hamilton resident Shialia Rogers said she is not surprised to hear that.
“I get down to where it’s dangerous before I fill up,” she said. “It gives me enough miles to get to a gas station, I don’t go anything lower than that.”
Rodgers runs a landscaping company in Hamilton, along with working a separate full-time job. She said the increased cost of fuel has led her to raise her prices.
“I haven’t had to raise my prices in seven years because of gas prices,” Rodgers said. "I had to go up on my prices on cutting lawns."
Cincinnati resident Tesandra Curie said the rising prices have been a struggle.
“I ain’t going to say it’s outrageous, it’s crazy,” Curie said. "You have to go gas station to gas station just to find cheaper gas."
However, Curie said she does not see a point in trying to stretch the gas in your tank and risk hitting empty.
“I don’t think it makes no difference if you stretch it or not because you’re still going to have to get more — and it’s still going to be high," Curie said.
AAA recommends keeping your tank at least half full, taking advantage of gas reward programs and driving slower to save gas.
Hitchens also said drivers should not rely too heavily on fuel sensors that tell you how many miles you have left until your tank is empty.
“We do warn people it’s not a good idea to run out of gas, to wait that long,” Hitchens said. “We did do a study last year about the accuracy of those fuel sensors in the car. A lot of it depends on a person’s driving habits — how fast they drive, how many times they go in and out of fuel efficiency as far as how accurate these fuel sensors are.”