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Waiting until the last minute to fill up on gas could cost you, experts say

AAA said waiting too long to put gas in your tank could cost drivers to shell out more money in the long run.

AUSTIN, Texas — Every day KVUE is monitoring the gas prices at the pump as they keep going up.

Currently, AAA reports the average price for a gallon of gas in Texas is $4.68, a few pennies higher from Monday. The average price is $4.71 in Travis County and $4.69 in Williamson County.

Experts say even though fuel prices are up nationwide, it's advised to not wait until your tank is on empty before filling up again. AAA said waiting too long to put gas in the tank could cost you more in the long run because of damage it can do to things like your fuel pump. 

"AAA has an acronym that's really easy to remember. It's make it a good 'BET' that you'll arrive safely. B-E-T: check your battery, engine and tires. Especially your tire pressure, as under-inflated tires can be a safety hazard. It could lead to a blowout. And also, underinflated tires can be a drag on your fuel economy," said Josh Zuber with AAA. 

Most modern cars have their fuel pump mounted inside the fuel tank. These pumps require a constant flow of fuel to lubricate and cool them during operation. Running a vehicle extremely low on fuel may allow air to be drawn into the pump, which can cause overheating and increased wear that eventually leads to pump failure. The cost to replace a fuel pump can be $500 or more in parts and labor.  

Another danger of waiting until the last minute to pump gas is personal safety of the driver and their passengers. If a vehicle stops in the middle of the roadway, that can put those involved in a dangerous situation. Power steering and brakes can be lost if an engine dies, and drivers may end up stranded in the middle of a busy highway. Fortunately, most out-of-gas situations can be avoided just simply by keeping an eye on the fuel gauge.

AAA recommends drivers to always maintain at least a quarter-tank of fuel. For drivers looking to save money when they fill up, the Auto Club can help with several free tools. Both the AAA TripTik Travel Planner and the free AAA.com/mobile app allow drivers to plan efficient routes and locate the least expensive places to stop for gas near their location.

Currently, AAA in Texas is not seeing any significant increase in the number of fuel delivery calls. The typical emergency road assistance calls consist of batteries, engine and tire troubles. 

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