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9 Tips to Help You When You’re Stranded Without Gas (and Cash)

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If you’ve been driving for a while, chances are you’ve experienced the panic of running out of gas. Usually, the solution is simple: make a call or find a ride to a gas station, get a gas can, refill, and return to your car. But what if you have no money to fuel up? Don’t worry! We’ve got your back with several options to help you out of this situation. Check out our list below!

1. Be Prepared

Before discussing reactive measures for when you run out of gas without money, let’s talk about being proactive. A responsible financial plan should include saving for emergencies. Running out of gas on the road without any money is an emergency. So, always ensure you have enough money to refuel your vehicle before traveling, even if it’s just a short distance. It’s best to have the cash or debit/credit card on hand in case you run out of gas unexpectedly.

2. Utilize a Credit Card

Even if you don’t have cash or your debit card is empty, don’t overlook the possibility of having a credit card with you. Perhaps you or someone in your group has a credit card that was never activated or used. Even if the card is at home, someone can call you with the credit card information to help you pay for the gas. The advantage of a credit card is that you can make a phone call, provide the card details, and potentially have a service deliver the gas to you.

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3. Leave Collateral at a Gas Station

If you have no credit card or alternative payment method, consider approaching a gas station attendant or manager and explain your situation. In some cases, they may allow you to leave something valuable as collateral, such as your driver’s license, in exchange for gas until you can return and make the payment.

4. Seek Help from Family or Friends

When all else fails, it’s time to call for reinforcements. Family members are often willing to come to the aid of their loved ones in situations like running out of gas with no money. The same goes for nearby friends.

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5. Contact a Freeway Service Patrol

Most states provide a freeway patrol service that offers assistance when you run out of gas. If you have a phone with internet access, search for the freeway service in the state where you’re stranded. For example, in California, the freeway service patrol, in collaboration with the California Highway Patrol, provides a free gallon of gas, tire changes, radiator fills, and jump starts. Over 40 states have similar programs.

6. Use a Fuel-Delivery Service with a Prepaid Account

If you were forward-thinking enough to set up an account with a fuel-delivery service before running out of gas, simply contact them and let them save the day. Even if you don’t have an account, perhaps a family member or friend can set one up with a phone call and their credit card, enabling them to send help your way. Service providers like Good Sam offer roadside assistance, including delivering gas when you find yourself in a pinch.

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7. Request Assistance from Strangers

If none of the previous options work or are available to you, asking people around you for some money might be your only choice. However, it’s important to approach this situation smartly. Here are a few tips:

  • Approach people politely and cautiously.
  • Be honest and straightforward about your needs.
  • Accept a “no” in a polite manner.
  • Ask donors if you can repay them later.

8. Call a Rideshare Company

This option requires some prior thinking and planning. Enroll in a rideshare program that allows you to call for a ride when needed. Well-known services like Uber, Lyft, and Via can provide not only transportation but also gas delivery.

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9. Contact Emergency Services (Last Resort)

If all else fails, don’t hesitate to call emergency services, especially if you find yourself in an unsafe situation. The police may even provide you with gas. Keep in mind that law enforcement responds to emergencies first, so you may need to wait for their arrival. At the very least, you’ll have someone aware of your predicament and provide assistance in getting you off the road without gas or money to pay for it.

Once You Get Gas: A Few Tips

  • Drive at a slower speed to conserve gas.
  • Keep your windows rolled up to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency.
  • Switch off the air conditioning or heater, as they consume more gas.

Conclusion: Plan Ahead and Stay Prepared

Ideally, you should plan ahead and avoid running out of gas without money. However, if you do find yourself in this situation, these nine tips will assist you in resolving the issue with minimal hassle. Stay safe and always be prepared!

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