CALLS to AA Roadwatch by motorists who have run out of fuel is up by 17pc this year, new figures have shown.
Thanks to high fuel prices, motorists are now more willing to let their cars run close to empty.
"Running out of petrol is not one of the most common kinds of breakdowns," said AA Roadwatch's public affairs manager Conor Faughnan. "It generally only accounts for about 1pc of our calls. It does happen, though, and the numbers are way up this year."
Petrol and diesel prices rose to record highs this summer.
By August, retail prices were up 15pc on the start of the year.
"A lot of drivers tell us that they took a gamble and ran the needle into red because they found that €20 or €30 doesn't go as far as it used to -- literally. While it's tempting to push your luck, it truly is a false economy. The AA can always come and get you, but running out of fuel is a major inconvenience," said Conor.
In the survey, motorists also said they took a chance on fuel because they couldn't find a garage.
In recent years, many petrol stations in the cities throughout the country have disappeared because of the property boom and this has led to mini 'petrol deserts', especially in the capital.
New motorways have still not been provided with service areas, which means that motorists have drive long distances on the nation's motorways without a garage in sight.
"High prices and disappearing service stations are a bad combination that has led many people to take a gamble," said Conor.
"Our advice is to use good driving practice to maximise fuel efficiency and to buy fuel early rather than risk running out."