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Texans stretching their fuel, running out of gas

The number of Texans running out of gas on the highway is rocketing up, the Allstate Motor Club said Thursday, citing customer calls to the club for gasoline delivery.

The number of calls is up 53 percent in the first five months of 2008 compared to the same time last year, the motor club said.

"From January through May of 2008, Texans called the Motor Club for fuel delivery 506 times," the club said, adding it set a Texas record in May with 140 out-of-gas calls across the state.

While some courtesy patrols report motorist shenanigans -- drivers who really aren't out of gas, but feign being broken down so they can try and snag free gas -- the Allstate club says "consumers are trying hard to stretch their dollar, and sometimes that means stretching fuel into fumes."

If you find yourself out of gas, the club offers these tips:

1. Get off the road.

2. If you run out of gas in traffic, stay in your vehicle until you are absolutely certain it is safe to get out of the vehicle. Push your vehicle to the side of the road only after you are clear of other cars and you are sure it is safe.

3. Call for help after you and your passengers are in a secure location.

Allstate's tips for conserving fuel:

1. Slow down.

2. Keep tires properly inflated.

3. Maintain consistent speed.