Austin – “$102 – not so bad,” said John Ish of Austintown, as he noted the cost of filling his company’s Ford F-150 FX4 off-road diesel pickup truck at Sheetz Station on North Canfield Niles Road.
Ish poured more than 21 gallons into the pickup’s 23 gallon tank Thursday afternoon.
Minutes later and a few pumps over, North Jackson’s Jacob Teeters leaned against his silver sedan as it filled up. He still had a quarter tank, but admitted that most of the time he “let it go to the end.”
Teeters said he never runs out of gas – but remembers being with his father once when he ran away.
The American Automobile Association reported an increase in motorists running out of gas while on the road in March. Jim Garrity, director of public affairs for AAA East Central, said the increased number of calls appears to correspond to a mid-month jump in gas prices.
Crude oil prices and later gas prices rose in March amid global supply concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At the end of the month, President Joe Biden ordered the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve for six months, dragging record-setting prices back down at the pump. Still, the national average for a gallon of regular gas on Friday was $4.13 and the Ohio average $3.80, according to AAA.
Throughout March, AAA East Central answered more than 1,000 out-of-gas calls. AAA East Central includes Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
Garrity said the uptick was small but noticeable, and could point to a worrying trend as motorists move into the summer months, when gas demand and prices are typically higher.
“The demand for petrol decreased in the month of March. So, if our out-of-gas calls were increasing despite more people living off the road — probably because of higher gas prices — it’s related to AAA for us, because we’re going to that time of year. Gas prices generally go up. Upstairs anyway.”
Mike Capito, Soris Towing’s operations manager at Liberty, said he absolutely saw an increase in out-of-gas calls. Before the price hike, Capito said Soris rarely gets more than one gas call a month. Now, the towing company is making about five calls a week, usually to gas-powered motorists on Interstate 80.
“They thought they could make it. That’s what I hear,” Capito said.
He said that when possible, Soris drivers bring gas to stranded motorists, although sometimes the company does drive vehicles to gas stations.
Capito said half of the trapped drivers are locals, and half are people passing through the area on the highway.
“Fuel prices are killing everybody, I know it. That’s what they have been saying,” he said.
Other area towing companies such as Carl’s Towing and Emerin Towing, which serve both Trumbull and Mahoning counties, said they did not see an increase in out-of-gas calls, although Emerin Gas calls and carried out a representative. Jati noted that several such calls had come in this past week.
Garrity said potentially running out of gas can be dangerous for motorists and costly when mechanical problems arise — when fuel pumps are empty on a regular basis, according to the AAA to repair the damage. Can cost as much as $500.
The AAA recommends refilling when a vehicle collapses to a quarter of a tank.
Estelle Liming of Lordstown said on Thursday that she doesn’t usually let her tank fill below halfway.
“I don’t want to run out of gas in Pennsylvania,” Liming said, noting that she drives into the state every day for work.
She said her Pennsylvania coworkers who live close to the state border come to Ohio for cheap gas.
As far as those rising prices go, Garrity said gas prices “cooled down in the last week or so,” but that could change in the summer, when people are driving more for trips and earlier. Since then, the more expensive “summer mixing” gas is used.
He added that even in parts of the country where winters are mild, the gas mixture changes seasonally to provide better performance for the vehicles. Summer gas components are more expensive to refiners, and the cost is passed on to consumers.
Garrity said that by the end of this month, the summer mix will be used in most parts of the country.
Also, AAA, which also handles travel arrangements, has noticed that people are excited to travel. AAA will conduct its next big travel survey for Memorial Day weekend.
“I look forward to seeing that,” Garrity said. “The travel offices have been very busy – a lot of people are booking cruises, and we are seeing more people with questions about mass voyages.”
For now, the AAA recommends that tires be inflated properly and vehicles are maintained at their best working condition by lightening the load and minimizing trips, using cruise control to maintain a steady speed. be in
AAA also recommends avoiding “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration, which increases fuel consumption, and increases the speed limit. According to AAA, on the highway, aerodynamic drag significantly reduces fuel economy as speeds exceed 50 mph.