Media Release: 6 August 2013
Aucklanders worst out of fuel offenders
Cars are more fuel efficient these days but drivers still run out of gas and Aucklanders are the worst offenders.
The Automobile Association rescued nearly 6500 drivers stranded without fuel on New Zealand’s roads in the year to 30
June, down 2.5% from the previous year. However, the number of drivers who ground to a halt with an empty fuel tank on
Auckland roads was up 4.5% with the AA attending more than 2600 jobs in the region.
AA Roadservice’s national manager John Healy says the level of mechanical faults and flat battery jobs has trended
downward, but the level of out of fuel jobs is constant.
“Vehicles are more reliable and don’t break down as often. They also provide drivers with the necessary information and
warnings to avoid running out of fuel, but even the best features in the latest vehicles don’t prevent drivers from
running short,” he says.
AA PetrolWatch spokesman Mark Stockdale says it is possible some drivers estimate how far they can travel on a dollar
amount of fuel and then find themselves short when the price of petrol increases.
“Someone who puts in $40 of fuel each week may estimate being able to get to and from work for five days,” Mr Stockdale
“But when the petrol price jumps 10 cents between fills, that $40 doesn’t get them as far. People may need to spend a
little more, or fill up sooner than normal.”
However, there is no clear correlation between out of fuel jobs attended by the AA and fuel price spikes.
AA Roadserivce officers claim half of the immobile drivers blame the vehicle rather than themselves for running out of
“The trip computer often cops flack if it states a few more kilometres were left when the tank runs dry. Others say they
usually get a bit further with the fuel light on,” Mr Healy says.
The worse out of fuel offenders are usually aged less than 50 and are often driving courtesy cars that are on loan from
a panel beater or mechanic.
“Courtesy car drivers are usually on their way to return the vehicle and have chosen to risk a low fuel tank over
spending a few dollars on fuel to get it there.”
Mr Healy’s advice is to avoid risk.
“When the needle starts getting close to E or if the fuel light comes on, it’s a pretty good indication that you need
to, head to the petrol pump.”
If it is the cost of fuel that is deterring drivers from filling their tank earlier, fuel discount offers or AA
Smartfuel can assist in reducing the cost.
“The AA is here to help but we don’t provide fuel free to those who get caught out.
“Running out of fuel creates problems for other motorists too, and the Police can even fine drivers for running out of
fuel on motorways or busy roads.