RAC reports 20% increase in motorists running out of fuel as petrol prices soar

RAC patrols have witnessed a near 20% surge in call outs from motorists stranded in their cars because they’ve run out of fuel over the past twelve months. In February 2012, 4,780 motorists called an RAC patrol because they’d run out of fuel, compared to just 3,900 one year earlier.

The record high price of petrol and diesel is likely to be a leading cause of the surge of drivers running dry. Diesel is now running at over 146p/litre and petrol at over 139p/litre, meaning a driver of an average car with a 55 litre tank faces a bill of £80 to fill up on diesel - £17 more than in February 2010. For petrol cars, it now costs around £76 for a full 55 litre tank – an extra £14 compared to two years ago. The Government’s planned inflationary rise in August of around 3p will add another £1.65 to the cost each and every time people fill up.

David Bizley, RAC Technical Director, comments:

“These figures certainly suggest that the spiraling cost of fuel is causing many motorists to drive on empty.  Although this is understandable given the current prices, it is clearly leaving many drivers unnecessarily stranded.  Drivers need to make sure they have enough fuel for their journey - but the Government need to do more to help the hard-pressed motorist.”

Last year’s RAC Report on Motoring confirmed the impact that high fuel prices and motoring costs are having on drivers. According to the Report, half of drivers have cut back on the number of journeys they make by car and one tenth have been forced to give up transporting their children to school and social activities.