The last few days have shown weary road warriors a glimmer of hope in the battle against higher gas prices. At least for the past few days, Triple-A the American Automobile Association has reported that the average price for a gallon of regular fuel has held steady or even dropped in some cases.

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Wavebreakmedia Ltd, ThinkStock
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That news is bittersweet when you consider that gas prices just one year ago were about $1.50 a gallon cheaper than they are now. That means American drivers are doing everything they can to squeeze every drop of fuel out of every tankful. However, your mechanic would probably advise you against doing that.

In fact, it's a consensus among mechanics that letting your vehicle's fuel level drop below one-quarter of a tank is not good for the vehicle and could, in fact, wind up costing you a lot more than a complete fill-up would cost.

Danny Johnson's Garage via YouTube
Danny Johnson's Garage via YouTube
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Your vehicle's fuel pump is one of the reasons that mechanics suggest you never let your tank get below one-quarter full. Today's modern fuel pumps rely on the fuel itself to help them run cooler. A lack of fuel could lead to premature failure of that part and fuel pumps are not cheap nor is the labor needed to install them.

Sediment in your fuel tank is also a concern when your fuel level dips below one-quarter of a tank. Now, this problem primarily happens in older vehicles where the tanks were made of metal and rust was an actual issue.

Bros FOURR Speed via YouTube
Bros FOURR Speed via YouTube
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Today's modern fuel tanks don't usually foster rust or other pollutants but it is still possible to have sediment from the fuel itself sucked into the fuel system when the level gets too low.

This could lead to premature failure or decreased performance from your fuel filter and fuel injection system. These kinds of failures will rob your vehicle's engine of performance and actually make your gas mileage worse.

If your vehicle displays any of these symptoms on a regular basis you might want to have a qualified mechanic check it out.

* The vehicle is hard to start

*The vehicle hesitates when you press the accelerator.

* You notice a significant decrease in fuel mileage.

* You notice your car has a tendency to overheat

* Your vehicle stalls while driving or while stopped at red lights.

These could all be symptoms of a fuel system issue. Granted not all issues are caused by letting the level of fuel in your vehicle get too low but doing that could most certainly be one of the causes.

via AudioTune via Twitter
via AudioTune via Twitter
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Perhaps former NBA star and now pitchman for almost everything Shaquille O'Neal was right. His hack would not only prevent $80 fill-ups but you'd never have to worry about the fuel level reaching the critical level. 

Meanwhile, we're all going to make the best with what we have and continue to drive carefully and cautiously. Or, we might just sit in the driveway and dream of driving. You know back in the day when we were kids and could afford luxuries like gasoline.

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