Gas price hikes sees more drivers stranded on side of road

American motorists are driving on empty.

Skyrocketing gas prices have led to a surge in drivers left stranded on the road because they only have enough money to partially fill up their tanks, according to new data.

The automobile club AAA serviced 50,787 out-of-gas calls in April, a 32% increase from the same month last year, according to the Washington Post.

By contrast, just under 20,000 drivers sought help from AAA because they were out of fuel in April 2020 — as much of the nation announced lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prices at the pump have soared to more than $5 a gallon for regular unleaded in nearly half the country.

So far this year, more than 200,000 motorists nationwide have been stranded on the side of the road, AAA said. During the same period last year — when the price of a gallon of gas was around $3 — just 154,000 motorists reported running out of gas.

A recent survey found that more Americans are partially filling up their tanks in order to save money.
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A survey by the Washington Post found that between April 21 and May 12, 44% of drivers said they have only partially filled their car’s gas tank.

For motorists who earn less than $50,000 a year, that figure climbs to 61%.

According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas has jumped 62% compared to a year ago. It now costs an average of $4.97.

In 18 states, the average price of a gallon of fuel has surpassed the $5 threshold.

Rhode Island is the latest state to join the $5-a-gallon club, with Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire and Maryland on the verge of crossing the same threshold.

In the US, 18 states are reporting an average price of $5 a gallon.
In the US, 18 states are reporting an average price of $5 a gallon.
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“After a blistering week of gas prices jumping in nearly every town, city, state and area possible, more bad news is on the horizon. It now appears not if, but when, we’ll hit that psychologically critical $5 national average,” GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan said in a blog post earlier this week.

“Gasoline inventories continue to decline even with demand softening due to high prices, a culmination of less refining capacity than we had prior to COVID and strong consumption, a situation that doesn’t look to improve drastically anytime soon,” De Haan added.

Last month, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase warned that gas prices could surpass $6 per gallon by the end of the summer.

The global energy market has struggled to keep pace with demand for months as countries reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has further disrupted shipments and contributed to a recent surge in oil prices.

US crude oil was trading at $121.90 a barrel on Thursday while Brent crude, the international benchmark, cost more than $123 per barrel.

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