With Prices High, More Cars Running Out Of Gas

By Courtney King, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nationwide, AAA is seeing an increase in drivers running out of gas — the apparent result of high gas prices.

Gail Weinholzer, spokesperson of the Minneapolis AAA, says they’ve had some reports out of their California club as well as some clubs on the east coast that people are running out of gas. She said they strongly advise against letting your car run that low.

“Not only is it an inconvenience to run out of gas, but, of course, if you’re standing by the side of the road, depending on where you are, it could be a safety issue,” she said, “and secondly, it can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Courtney King Reports

Now that the Easter weekend has come and gone, Weinholzer said the next big holiday for drivers’ to watch pump prices is Memorial Day weekend.

“Summer travel is typically the highest demand we see throughout the year with the three major holidays — Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Those will be the real test to see how it affects people’s driving,” she said.

Weinholzer said that prices have risen because of the dramatic increase in crude oil prices at the national level — $113 dollars a barrel — which is at least a $10 increase in the last month.

“Those prices are being passed down at the pump, just as they are for airlines and other commercial goods and services,” she said.

Locally, Weinholzer said, Twin Cities drivers are paying $3.90 a gallon, which is slightly above the national average of $3.86 a gallon. She said the metro area gas prices are actually slightly cheaper than the rest of greater Minnesota.

“It’s because of distribution,” she said. “It’s easier to bring a lot of fuel into the Twin Cities than it is to take smaller portions out to rural Minnesota.”

  • YourName Here

    Anyone that runs out of gas is an idiot. You’re telling me higher gas prices causes you stop being able to comprehend a gas gauge? Just proves what I already knew. People are stupid.

    • brent

      I have ran out twice in the last month, not sure why though.

    • Mitchell

      I think what is happening too often is people wait for the price hikes to calm down. Is that an excuse? Nope. With that said, try and take a look at the big picture here. Some people have budgets that are already tight as it is. When gas prices skyrocket, that’s $10 extra dollars they might not have.

  • Ed

    If you can only afford a half a tank of gas remember this:
    It cost the same to fill up the top half of the tank as it does the bottom half of the tank.

    • Mitchell

      Not if 3 days later gas is $0.25 less per gallon.

      • Boo Hoo

        Ha! Good one!
        Then people should park the car till gas comes down to something they can afford.
        I can afford $6 a gallon and look forward to having more people on busses and less people on the road.
        Driving is not an american right, if you can’t afford the luxury then downsize, buy, work and live local.

        • SG

          Boo are you suggesting that we quit our jobs and pull our kids out of school too? Our shcool has no bus service at all. I have an small american made car, not a luxury vehicle and live less than 10 miles from work. I’d love to be able to take the bus or train to work but the public transit system sucks and reform is years away. Good for you that you can affford $6 a gallon but there are lots of folks out there that are struggling to make ends meet as it is.

          As for live and work locally…. Have you seen the housing and job markets lately?

        • To you

          Boo Hoo-Will you be leading the party of “Me”?

  • It doesn't take a genius

    I have never run out of gas. If you don’t have enough gas to get where you need to go and back, walk , ride the bus or stay home. Many times I have taken the bus or walked so I can save gas costs. I am better off healthwise and I got my excersise in.

    • SG

      This is not an option for everyone. I’d love to take the bus to work but the service is lousy between my home and office. It would take over two hours one way and at least 3 busses to get there. As a single parent with two kids, that just doesn’t work.

  • M B

    “it’s [cheaper in the twin cities] because of distribution”
    This is in direct opposition to how it normally is. Usually it’s more expensive in the Twin Cities because the companies know they can squeeze us more in the cities than they can the lower income outer-state despite distribution costs being lower in the cities. In short: Greed. For more than the last 5 years I’ve watched gas prices have been higher in the cities than outer-state.

    • Read closer.

      Actually, you didn’t read it correctly. They were comparing Twin Cities to GREATER MINNESOTA (i.e. small MN towns). Not the TC and outer state. If comparing to outer-state, look at L.A. It’s well over $4.00/gallon.

  • Phil Mcrackin

    I feel for the independent truck drivers who have a much harder time passing the fuel prices on to their customers. And yes there is no excuse for running your tank empty and getting stranded.

  • Perplexed

    Why are we paying the same price for gas at $110 a barel as we were at $140/ barrel oil in 2008?

  • Dennis

    Some people may talk smart and have little compassion for the people that run out of gas and believe me they know how to read a gas guage. Some of these people that run out of gas probably have no choice as they are just trying to make their destination .PS: What goes around -comes around !!!!!!!!

    • MARK

      Dennis, there’s a gas station on every block in this city. Usually two. If you either can’t afford to fill up your tank or you drive past a bunch of stations hoping to make it to your destination and you end up running out of gas, then it’s no one’s fault but your own. How do people have “no choice”? I don’t get it.

      • Mitchell

        Newflash: Not everyone who reads WCCO lives in the city.

        • MARK

          Mitchell, do you live in an area so remote that there aren’t gas stations in every town and on the highways in between? I grew up in the middle of nowhere and still managed to never run out of gas. When people run out of gas and blame it on high gas prices they’re deluding themselves.

          • Mitchell

            I don’t think you are getting my point… allow me to explain. We are spoiled here in the city, with so many gas stations and many that operate 24 hours a day. In rural areas, they may only have 1 or 2 gas stations. In a town of less than 1000, it doesn’t make any business sense to stay open 24 hours a day. To complicate that even more, some of these gas stations are using older equipment that doesn’t allow the customer to pay at the pump after hours. I used to drive a lot, and I almost ran out of gas once in the middle of the night simply because I couldn’t find a gas station that was open. I would have gladly paid at the pump, but not all gas stations in rural areas have that. That was my point.

            • Been there


              I get your point. I used to live in a rural area where the gas stations were open from 9-5 with no pay at the pump option. It was an hour drive to get to a town that had 24 hour gas access. Even now living more than an hour outside of the cities, there is not always gas access when you need it. My city has no bus service, commuter train, or taxi service. It would take me several days to walk to work. I think people in the cities forget that there is not a gas or grocery store in every town and if there is one to count yourself lucky. But, you couldn’t pay me enough to live in the cities. I think most of us out here are here by choice.

    • Ed

      If you can’t afford enough gas, insurance, or anything else to drive a car safely then it’s time sell it and buy a bus pass.

  • JR

    MB, you are correct. I was in the Rochester area over the weekend and while the prices in the Cities were already around $3.95, prices in Rochester and the surrounding communities was still at $3.78.

  • V for Vendetta

    Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve as “Federal” as Federal Express has more people to bail out, better turn on the printing presses. Wait these are people and not banks, turn them back down to “Owe”bama speed from hyperinflation speed.

  • V for Vendetta

    People aren’t understanding the message here. People are so broke that they literally can’t afford to put in a dime into their tanks living under the “Owe”bama economy. I love listening and watching Americans complain about “high” gas prices. In Germany we pay the equivalent of $8.40 a gallon. I ride a bike and use public transportation and my health and the quality of life is much better and the German economy keeps humming along. $8.40 gas will bring the entire USSA to a grinding halt. Get ready $6.00 gas is coming.

    • MARK

      Since the economy has improved under Obama and gas prices were even higher for a time under Bush, I don’t really see your point. And why would gas that costs the equivalent of $8.40/gallon lead you to say that “life is much better and the German economy keeps humming along,” but $6.00/gallon in the USA would bring this country to a “grinding halt.” This makes no sense whatsoever.

    • M B

      Don’t blame this on Obama. It was this high before under Bush, so it’s just a greed thing on the part of the speculators.

      As to your comment on mass transit: The entirety of Germany is slightly smaller than our ONE state of Montana. Please don’t compare the mass transit in Germany to a country that is so vast as the US (notice I didn’t say Great, just big). To fund the level of mass transit that European countries have over the vast distances we have would crush our economy.

      Don’t get me wrong: I would Love to be able to bike or grab a train somewhere, but when it’s 10 miles to the closest grocery store, that ain’t gonna happen.

      Calling the US, the USSA is rather hypocritical considering Germany is socialist, don’t you think?

    • Mitchell

      You were hitting the right notes until you starting beating that Obama fear-mongering drum. Credibility = Lost. Are you suggesting that Bush was any better? How about Clinton? No matter who is in office, they will get blamed for everything.

    • Morris

      High gas price is nothing to do with “Owe”bama economy! You just need to be smart to follow the money goes … WALL STREET!!! … That’s a source of GREEDY in the nation! Wake up, people!!!

    • Citizen

      Hey, “V”, Western Europe is small compared to the U.S. All of Western Europe would fit into the western half of the U.S. We are a physically large country. Our cities do have public transportation, but there isn’t much in the rural areas. In fact, there are whole townships in some of the western U.S. states whose only population is cattle. The U.S. is NOT Europe. Try biking around Montana or California! Or even Los Angeles…

  • Norge

    This is Obamamamas way of helping finance his re-election, as he is letting the speculators (read National Banks agents) make billions on speculating and driving the price of oil up…in return watch the National Banks funnel hundreds of millions into his re-election coffers in the names of all their ‘customers’. Think that is BS??? All we have to do is have Obamamama do what liberlas have cried for years to do…Force speculators who bid on the oil..TAKE DELIVERY at the price and time specified. Gas wil be at $1.85 in less then a week….Period.

    • MARK

      Presidents have absolutely no control over the cost of gas at the pump in the short term. George Bush didn’t and neither does President Obama. Anyone who thinks otherwise does not understand economics, period.

      • Mitchell

        @Mark… EXACTLY! Thankfully someone here gets it!

    • M B

      Norge, you even contradict yourself in your own post.
      First you blame it all on Obama and the Evil Liberals, then you say that very same liberal tactic of forcing Speculators to take shipment would fix the problem. Which is it? Will the Evil Liberals save us or crush us?

      I seriously fear for this country if this is an example of those that are making voter decisions here.

    • Mitchell

      Are you a complete moron? Are you suggesting gas prices never went through the roof when a Republican was in office? How much control do you think the executive branch of our government has over oil prices? I look forward to your response.

      • Wesly

        Norge will not respond. Magical thinking if anyone thinks gas will drop to under $2 a gallon. Oil would have to drop to $50 a barrel and that is not going to happen. Too funny that someone would to tie banks to Obama.

  • Maddog

    Thank God Minnesota has a law that the gas stations can’t sell the gas at too low a price. I guess I’m an idiot but I think the law should be that they can’t sell the gas at too high a price.

    • Mitchell

      Do you understand the point of that particular law? The purpose is to support small gas station owners who don’t have the buying power Costco does. Costco could very well sell gas much lower than everyone else, but then you would stop going to the small, locally-owned gas stations. You know what would happen next? They go out of business. So, you’re telling me, “Screw the little locally-owned business, I want dirt cheap gas from a national chain store”. Do you see where you are being completely ignorant?

    • Mitchell

      Do you know what the actual purpose of that law is? I reckon you have no clue. It’s in place to help prevent places like Costco from using their buying power from putting small, independent, locally-owned gas stations from going out of business. Of course you couldn’t possibly care less… you just want cheaper gas, regardless of the consequences to the LOCAL economy. Your ignorance amazes me.

      • Maddog

        Hey Mitchell you must have a personal problem. Seems you can’t make a point with putting someone down. I guess the reason you do it is because you realize that you’re nothing but a loser.

        • Mitchell

          Are you mad that I called you out for being ignorant? You posted an incredibly ignorant and idiotic comment and I responded accordingly.I love the ad hominem comment though… stay classy maddog!

    • Low Gas Prices

      I believe that law was passed to prevent companies like Walmart from opening gas stations and having the gas priced below the cost so that customers will come there and spend money in the store as well, offsetting the money lost on the sale of the gas. It’s the same effect that Walmart has has on some small neighborhood stores when moving into a new location.

  • Greg

    Buy more products that are made in China so they can afford to buy automobiles, which increases the demand for fuel and thus increased competition for oil and then higher fuel prices.

    Then take that model to other commodities.

    • Mitchell

      Wait, what?!

      • M B

        I believe that it is sarcasm of the highest order.
        The other reason why gas is so high is because the Chinese economy is expanding and they are developing exponentially. The people there are literally buying cars by the millions, whereas before they had few. That also means that they are becoming extremely gas-hungry.
        If we stopped buying all their poor quality junk, they wouldn’t grow as fast. I think that is what he was alluding to.

  • Dee O

    Our government does have some control over the price of oil. All fiorms of government use more fuel then the rest of the economy in totality. They could stop using so much themselves. They also control how oil contracts are given out, The government controlled commodities agency controls how speculation is allowed in the market place. The government is supposed to make sure that there is competition in the marketplace, but all prices for gas are nearly the same. The cost of oil extraction is not the same in all places.

  • DRILL BABY DRILL!!!!!!!!!!


  • Anon

    Easy for us to say “drill baby drill” when it’s not our local ecosystem that takes the fall for shale, tar sands or oil pipelines. We’ll just sit on our rears and let Canada, Colorado and Texas suffer ecologically to keep our SUVs humming along.

    Even if we could never connect large portions of the state in a cost-effective manner to mass transit, getting the TC properly set up would serve 60% of the state’s population on maybe five percent of the state’s land. Very cost-effective, since the amount of people in proximity to every bus stop and rail line would be very high.

    If you have issues with the bus system, band together and lobby. Look at what the cyclists have been able to do over the past decade. The Greenway didn’t exist before. Nice Ride is new too.

  • Kent

    When you run out of Juice
    And the Fumes run dry
    Then start to push it
    Like the Flint Stones guy

  • Justin

    Renewable resources.

    It sounds stupid to say that we really need to get more advanced because we slowly are, but more is going to have to be done. We have enough oil to last the earth for A LONG TIME but prices will just continue to go up.

    Too bad we don’t have such a thing as ‘renewable resource using cars’ companies competing with the ‘oil using car’ companies. Maybe then oil prices would go down…

    please understand my sarcasm before bashing which a lot of people(from observation) seem to do.

  • cindy

    If a quarterly report comes out, again, with huge profilts, there will be complete outrage, time to get a grip on this and regulate the prices, it is complete nonsense!

  • Dennis

    Maybe we should listen to T-Bone Pickens as he has suggested to use Natural Gas in all trucks and govt. transportation. This would make plently of jobs and help with the cost of Gas.
    I understand that their is plenty available–Know why do we not use this clean energy—No we would rather go to Brazil and get it from that dictator. .All I can say is (Take Cover)

  • News=Lies

    One the news tonight WCCO said to go to this web site to find out how to save up to $1.00 per galon on gas. I have searched your site and can not find the answer.

    Why do you announce this and then not provide the informaion?

  • Leaf

    I agree with Greg and Cindy. I also do not buy the excuse that gas is more expensive in rural communities because of the cost to transport, as the transportation has not changed all these years and now it’s relatively more expensive in rural MN?

    It’s more expensive in the middle of no where because rural MN doesn’t have as much competition and the stations are price gouging. I’m sure they are all price gouging and no one wants to spend the money to investigate or prosecute.

  • HooDatIS?


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