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California drivers run dry to beat gas prices

Some California drivers are resorting to desperate measures to beat the surge in gas prices at the pump — deliberately running dry on the state’s freeways and simply waiting for rescue.
/ Source: Reuters

Some California drivers are resorting to desperate measures to beat the surge in gas prices at the pump — deliberately running dry on the state’s freeways and simply waiting for rescue.

“Every time fuel goes up, we start noticing it. But right now we are noticing it a lot more,” Andy Lujan, owner of California Coach Towing in Orange County, said Tuesday.

Lujan’s 20 trucks roam the busy freeways of Orange and Los Angeles counties as part of a publicly funded patrol that gives a free gallon of gas to drivers who have run out of fuel. It also offers other basic assistance to drivers whose vehicles have broken down.

“You say to some of them ‘hey, you’ve run out of gas’ and they say ‘yeah, it’s too expensive.’ I think the percentage is going to increase,” Lujan said.

Gas prices in California, where the car is king, are some of the highest in the nation at more than $3 a gallon and rising.

Moshe Ben Dayan, whose TipTopTow company performs a similar service in Los Angeles’ affluent west side, said some people were taking advantage of the freeway service patrol.

“There was one guy a while back who was stopping every morning and trying to get his one free gallon,” said Dayan. “I think it is going to be more drastic when the price of gas is closer to $4 a gallon.”