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Running on Empty

Drivers putting off filling their gas tank

By Consumer Bob
|  Thursday, Apr 28, 2011  |  Updated 4:40 PM PDT
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Higher Gas Prices Steal From Local Economy

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MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 15: Gas is pumped into a vehicle September 15, 2008 in Miami, Florida. Gasoline prices rose nearly 5 cents a gallon Monday, bringing the total increase in the three days since Hurricane Ike slammed into Texas to almost 17 cents, according to a nationwide survey. The average price of unleaded regular rose 4.7 cents to $3.842 a gallon, according to the survey released by motorist group AAA. That followed increases of 5.8 cents Saturday and 6.2 cents Sunday, which was the biggest one-day spike since after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 . (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Higher Gas Prices Steal From Local Economy

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San Diegan Lisa Diaz hates to buy gas these days so she puts it off as long as she can.

"I put $20, $25 in at a time and I wait until my gas light turns on," said Diaz. 

She is not alone, the Automobile Club says more and more of its members are simply running out of gas.

"We've seen a 12.9 percent increase of fuel delivery to our AAA members," said Automobile Club field manager Michael Hoshaw.  He says in southern California the Auto Club is delivering gas to 15,600 members every month.

Jill Giles says she waits till payday to fill her tank.  That means she keeps one eye on the road and another on the fuel gage.  Has Jill run out of gas?  "I haven't pushed it quite that far but I was definitely on empty right now," said Giles while she filled her tank.

The Auto Club suggests that members keep at least a quarter tank of fuel in the their car.  That isn't just for keeping cars from running out of gas but also to protect their engines. 

"By running your tank low on fuel you get sediment that will clog the fuel filter," said Michael Hoshaw.

Daniel Alexander knows first hand what happens when you try to drive too far on an empty tank, "I've already run out of gas three times," said Alexander.  But now he says he's learned his lesson, "I'm not waiting longer."

Do you put limited amounts of gas at a time or fill it up every time? Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @nbcsandiego or add your comment to our Facebook page.

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