PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As gas prices keep rising more and more people are stretching out their visits to the pump and that could lead to problems.

In fact, AAA Mid-Atlantic tells us that calls for gas assistance are up 20 percent compared to this time last year. But as 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan finds, waiting too long between tank fills could end up costing you big.

Riding around on an empty tank could lead to emptier pockets.

As the price of gas rises so does the number of drivers riding around on fumes. And when those fumes run out, those drivers end up stranded.

Nationwide, AAA has seen an increase in calls for roadside assistance.

“Well it’s tough to say exactly why, but when you look at the price of gas, back in 2008 when the price of gas was really high the same thing happened back then as well,” said Matt Skyryja with AAA.

And whether your burning fuel trying to find the cheapest prices or you just can’t afford to fill up, auto experts say the outcome is the same. Running on empty isn’t good for your car.

“Over a period of time it will eventually damage your fuel pump,” said auto mechanic, John Bartunic.

Bartunic says most cars, built after the 90’s, were designed to keep the fuel pump submerged. He recommends at least a quarter of a tank.

“When you don’t have gas, it doesn’t have cooling it doesn’t have lubrication,” said Bartunic.

Not only could a low tank destroy your pump, but it can clog your engine with the gunk and debris at the bottom of your tank.

So watch that gas gauge closely, don’t push it to the limit. If you do run out of gas, you don’t want to pump the gas pedal. Experts say that can do more harm than good.

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

Top Content On CBSPhilly

More From CBS Philly

Latest Videos
Latest Forecast

Watch & Listen LIVE