CHICAGO (NewsNation) — As the national average price for gas soars to $5 per gallon, prices are leaving drivers stranded.
This comes as the heat of summer looms and increases the safety risks of driving a car on empty, which is already happening to people more frequently.
“I’m out of the gas; I don’t make it to the store,” said George Stray, a construction worker who was recently stuck on the side of the road.
Fortunately for Stray, Stan Stankovich, a freeway patrol technician, arrived to help and quickly got him back on the road. However, it’s a painful predicament, and a common one.
“We get a lot of people who run out of gas. I already have one this morning; I had three yesterday,” Stankovich said.
As of Thursday morning, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is now up to $5, according to GasBuddy. Meanwhile, AAA reports the national average for a gallon of regular fuel is $4.99.
Gas is hard to afford for some people and calls for help are another added cost, and these situations can be dangerous.
“If someone stalls on the middle of the freeway, it’s going to cause traffic congestion,” Stankovich said.
According to AAA, more than 50,000 people called for roadside help in April — a 32% increase from April 2021. And gas experts expect costs to continue to rise.
“We’re expecting here in the next two months, there’s a chance, a really good chance that gas could actually double from what it is right now, its levels,” said Jim Grundy, an energy expert.
As prices continue to rise, drivers are being urged to be on the lookout for fuel felons.
Arkansas resident Dwight Leichliter was forced to repair his box truck after thieves drilled the gas right out of the tank.
“For a gallon of gas it cost me $900,” he lamented.
In Los Angeles, a modified truck designed to transport stolen fuel straight from the pump sped off with $30,000 worth of diesel. Crooks broke the pump and stood watch while they filled a large plastic container in the back of the truck.
If you’re running low on gas, experts recommend you turn off the car’s air conditioner, radio and conserve your energy as much as possible. If you get stranded, try to get your car to a safe location first, call for assistance, such as AAA, and/or flag down help as possible.