Gasoline has become so expensive that apparently more motorists are taking their chances and driving on empty.
The California State Automobile Association reports the number of emergency roadside assistance calls for empty gas tanks has risen 26 percent so far this year in Northern California, Nevada and Utah.
Matt Skryja, a spokesman for CSAA, said the agency delivered gasoline to 15,273 motorists in that region during the first three months of 2010. In the first three months of 2011, the organization brought gas to 19,282 stranded drivers.
Skryja said it's difficult to determine the exact causes of the increase, but he suspects the price of gasoline and the economy in general are prime reasons.
Skryja said the agency urges people to fill up when their tank gets as low as quarter full. He said there are a number of dangers to running out of gas.
One is safety. You can be stranded in an unsafe part of town. Or you can be sitting on the side of a busy freeway.
He added an empty tank can also damage your engine because sometimes sediment is carried along with the last drops of gasoline.
Meanhile, the price of gas inched up again the past week.
The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded nationwide is $3.85. That's four cents higher than a week ago and 31 cents more than a month ago.
In California, the average price for regular unleaded is $4.21 a gallon. That's two cents higher than last week and 24 cents more than a month ago.
In the Oakland metropolitan area, the cost is also $4.21 a gallon, an increase of two cents from a week ago and 23 cents more than a month ago.
In Alameda, the prices listed at gasprices.mapquest.com range from $4.17 a gallon at the on Park Street to $4.27 a gallon to $2.26 a gallon at the Webster Street .
At , if you buy a $100 worth of groceries (alcohol, cigarettes, milk not included) you get .25 cents off a gallon of gas. Spend $50, and get .10 cents off a gallon.
Gas prices can also be checked at gasbuddy.com.