9 Helpful Tips for When You Run Out of Gas (with No Money)


If you’ve been driving for long, chances are you’ve been low on gas at some point, or worse, maybe you actually ran out of gas. In most situations, the solution is easy: Make a call or flag down a ride to a gas station, buy a gas can, fill it up, and go back to your car to refuel.

But what if this option isn’t available to you because you ran out of gas and have no money?

We’ve got several options you can use in the event you find yourself out of gas with no money. Check out our list below!

1. Prevention

Before we talk about reactive methods to running out gas without money, let’s dive into a bit of proactive choices. Any responsible financial plan includes saving for emergencies. Running out of gas on the road without any money is definitely an emergency. So before you travel, even if it’s just a few miles, always make sure you have access to enough money to refuel your vehicle.

Preferably, you should do this prior to running out of gas, but in the event you run out of gas on the road, having cash or a debit or credit card on you to pay for a refuel is absolutely paramount.

2. Use a Credit Card

Just because you don’t have any cash on you or your debit card may not be “charged up,” don’t overlook that fact that perhaps you might have a credit card stowed away.

Did you or someone in your group by any chance apply for a card that you’ve never activated or used? Even if the card is at home, you might be able to have someone call you with the credit card information and help you pay for the gas.

The convenience of a credit card is that you can make a phone call and provide the credit card info and possibly have a service deliver the gas to you.

3. Go to a Gas Station and Leave Something for Collateral

 If there’s no credit card or other means to pay, consider taking your problem to the gas station attendant or manager. In some situations, they will allow you to leave some form of collateral such as your driver’s license in exchange for gas until you can come back and pay.

4. Call for Help from Family or Friends

Once you’ve exhausted the above two options, it’s time to call in reinforcements. Family members are often willing to come to the aid of their kin in situations such as running out of gas with no money.

The same goes for friends who live nearby.

5. Call a Freeway Service Patrol

Most states offer a freeway patrol that will answer your call and bring you a gallon of free gas. If you’re fortune enough to have a phone with internet access, do a search for the freeway service for whatever state in which you may be stranded.

For example, in California, in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol, the freeway service patrol will offer you a free gallon of gas, change a flat tire, fill your radiator, or give you a jump start. Over 40 different states have some similar type of freeway service patrol.

6. Use a Fuel-Delivery Service (Prepaid Account)

If you had the foresight to set up an account prior to running out of gas with no money, simply contact your fuel-delivery service and have them save the day. Even if you don’t have an account set up, perhaps a family member or friend can set one up with a phone call and their credit card and send them out to help you.

Service providers such as Good Sam will come to your aid in the event you need roadside assistance, including running out of gas with no money!

7. Request Help from Others

If none of these options work or are available to you, asking people around you for some money may be your only option if you have run out of gas and have no money. But be smart about this. Here are a few tips:

  • Approach people cautiously and politely
  • Be honest and direct about your needs (don’t lie)
  • Take no for an answer in a polite manner
  • Ask donors if you can repay them later

8. Call a Rideshare Company

This option requires some thinking ahead.

Just like any other type of preparation or insurance, you can enroll in a program that allows you to call the company of your choice to get a ride. The most well-known ride-sharing services are Uber, Lyft, and Via.

Some of these ride-sharing companies will not only give you a ride but may also have a service that delivers you gas.

9. Call 9-1-1 (Last Resort)

If all else fails, call the cops, especially if you’re in an unsafe situation on the side of a freeway or road. The police may even bring you gas! Keep in mind that law enforcement responds to emergencies first, so you may need to wait a while for them to show up.

At the very least, you’ll know someone is aware of your predicament and can assist you in getting off the side of the road with no gas or money to pay for it.

Once you Get the Gas, a Few Tips

  • Drive Slow – faster driving burns more gas
  • Keep Windows Rolled up – this will reduce drag and make your driving more fuel-efficient
  • Switch off Air Conditioning/Heater – these components use up more gas

Conclusion: Plan Ahead and Be Prepared

Hopefully you’ll think ahead about this situation so that you don’t run out of gas without any money. But if you find yourself in this situation, these nine tips might help you get out of this situation without too much hassle.

Geek, out.

Noel

Noel is the founder and main contributor for his blog - Noel's passion for personal finance has helped him amass over 600k readers to his Financial Geek blog.

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