(KRON) – If you are thinking about risking running out of gas before stopping to fuel up, think again. KRON4 News spoke to a AAA representative, who explained why trying to stretch that last gallon of gas is not worth the risk. 

In the first quarter of 2021, AAA received 153,000 service calls for drivers being out of gas. In 2022, that number climbed to 194,000. 

John Treanor, an AAA spokesperson, says AAA attributes the bulk of the increase in gas-related service calls to more folks getting back on the road in the wake of the pandemic. But he cautioned drivers against risking running out of gas by trying to stretch their fuel to the limit before filling up.

“While that little light may be a warning that you only have a gallon or so left, you want to fill up,” he said. “It’s not a, ‘Now’s the time to fill’ mark. Don’t wait until that light to go on. Don’t push it to the next gas station.”

But that’s exactly what some folks in the Bay Area are doing. KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun found two people driving on empty at a Chevron in South San Francisco.

“I was actually supposed to get gas on Friday, but I had to go home,” said Jackie Torres, one of the drivers. “So, I waited until today to get it.”

“I tend to push it too,” said Buddy Welch, the other driver. “I have a thing that comes on that says reserve fuel. Within 10 miles or so I get gas.”

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Treanor explained the typical damage that happens when a vehicle runs out of gas.

“It’s going to do damage to your fuel pump if you run out of fuel,” he said. “Your fuel pump doesn’t have the ability to cool itself if you run out of fuel.”

He says that even though Californians can’t escape paying the highest gas prices in the country, the cost of repairing a vehicle due to running out of gas is something that can be avoided

“Think about your car in the long run,” he said. “Think about the cost of getting a new fuel pump for repairing the damage, a cost of a tow, a cost for service, and the most important thing – time. Think about the time you will be spending if you break down on the road waiting for gas.”