Some Iowa gas stations raised prices a dime-a-gallon overnight. As the statewide average approaches $5 a gallon, it may prompt some motorists to try and stretch the gas in their tank too far. Rose White, with Triple-A-Iowa, says drivers who let their car run out of gas can end up in a potentially-dangerous situation stranded on a roadside, and they could also be stuck with costly repair bills.
White says, “The fuel pump basically stays cool in the tank with the help of gasoline, so if you run your tank on empty, that one item can overheat and if it does, where it has to be replaced, that could cost you $500 or more with parts and labor.” She says letting your tank run too low can also cause gunk to gather in your fuel filter or fuel injectors.
“Sometimes sediment gathers at the bottom of the tank, so allowing your vehicle to run on empty could clog that fuel pump, costing you very expensive repairs,” White says. There’s also the risk your fuel gauge isn’t entirely accurate and you could run out of gas before it indicates you’re on empty. In addition to being stuck in the middle of nowhere, she says it could be a challenge just getting your vehicle onto the shoulder safely.
White says, “Keep in mind, in many vehicles today, if the engine quits, you lose your power steering, you lose your power brakes and that could create a very dangerous situation if you’re traveling on the highway.” She suggests always leaving at least a quarter-tank of gas in your car.
The statewide average for regular unleaded is now $3.85 a gallon, a nickel below the national average.