Are Motorists Scamming for Free Gas? With gas prices at near-record highs, some motorists may be resorting to extreme measures. Bill Luna, manager of Sierra Hart Towing in Sacramento, Calif., says tow-truck drivers suspect motorists are letting tanks run dry to get a free gallon of gas from the state.
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Are Motorists Scamming for Free Gas?

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Are Motorists Scamming for Free Gas?

Are Motorists Scamming for Free Gas?

Are Motorists Scamming for Free Gas?

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With gas prices at near-record highs, some motorists may be resorting to extreme measures. Bill Luna, manager of Sierra Hart Towing in Sacramento, Calif., says tow-truck drivers suspect motorists are letting tanks run dry to get a free gallon of gas from the state.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

Mr. Luna, are you getting more calls nowadays from people who, at least say, they've run out of gas?

BILL LUNA: Yes, we are.

SIEGEL: Lots more?

LUNA: Well, we've - it's - within the past year, it's probably doubled.

SIEGEL: And that's, in fact, the same increase that AAA found around Philadelphia, about twice as many people calling up, needing some gasoline. The reason, though, could be just that people are driving around not filling up their tank because it's so expensive to do so and risking running out of gas inadvertently.

LUNA: That's - yeah, that's correct. That's probably what's really happening.

SIEGEL: But then there's some cases where you suspect there's a bit of a scam going on.

LUNA: Well, you know, we have pulled up on people and they have been repeat customers, so to speak, and anyways, they...

SIEGEL: You mean people who, more than once...

LUNA: Oh, yes.

SIEGEL: ...turn up on the side of the road saying I ran out of gas, can I have a free gallon of gasoline?

LUNA: Right and so, you know, and it's our policy, as well as our contract, that, you know, we clear the highways. So we, you know, usually - like the second or maybe the third time, we'll give them the free gas, and then after that, then we'll have, like a CHP officer respond out and, you know, talk to them about it.

SIEGEL: You mean to say, if you do this more than a couple of times, it might not be a free gallon. It might be okay, buddy, let's tow your car off the highway.

LUNA: Exactly.

SIEGEL: I see. Well, do you think all these people really are out of gasoline?

LUNA: You know, it's - it's hard to say. I mean...

SIEGEL: Well, you could to look at the gas - you know, the gauge and see if...

LUNA: The fuel gauge, yeah. We get a lot of people say that, you know, sometimes if their fuel gauge doesn't work which, you know, that's possible and that's the reason they've run out of gas...

SIEGEL: You mean, you're guy in the tow truck goes there and the gauge shows as a quarter, a half tank of gas and the driver says, no, it doesn't work?

LUNA: Right. And so usually at that point, if they say that the motor won't run and the fuel gauge is broken or whatever, we know that, you know, our guy looks at it, and so on, we'll just simply tow them off to a safe zone - off the highway.

SIEGEL: Bill Luna of Sierra Hart Towing in Sacramento, California. Thank you very much for talking with us.

LUNA: Thank you very much.

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