Stranded drivers: Higher gas prices are leading to record calls for roadside assistance

Highway Helper service in Iowa is getting a record number of calls from motorists who are running out of gas. (Source: KCRG)
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 8:20 PM MST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) - The Iowa Department of Transportation believes the increase in gas prices is causing more people to run out of gas on the road.

KCRG reports the transportation department saw a 200% increase in calls from drivers out of gas in April compared to last year, with a 589% increase in March.

Brad Cowdin drives the Highway Helper. The Highway Helper is equipped with two five-gallon gas tanks, allowing drivers free gas to get to the closest station. The truck can also jump cars, fix flat tires and help with other road-based emergencies for free.

Cowdin said he sometimes sees the same people, specifically those living in their cars. They keep the cars running overnight to stay cool and eventually run out of gas the following day.

“If you’re on a fixed income or your budget is tight, $5 for a gallon of gas doesn’t get you a lot,” Cowdin said.

Cowdin’s services are contracted through a company based in New York and are expected to continue with the increased demand.

Before the current surge in gas prices, officials said the most common call from stranded motorists was about flat tires.

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