ORLANDO, Fla. — In his 18 years driving I-4 as a Road Ranger, Joe Startz says he’s gotten used to the routine of the job: pull over, help drivers, move on to the next job.
But now, he’s finding more and more drivers need one thing: gas.
“I’d say on a normal day before the pandemic we’d get about one or two,” says Joe as he heads north on I-4 towards Volusia County. “Now we’re getting four or five a day.”
The Road Rangers, who patrol the highways carry with them gasoline and diesel for stranded motorists. Typically, each Ranger starts their shift with about 12-15 gallons of gas. Last week one Ranger helped seven vehicles, exhausting his entire supply.
“We used to give them just a gallon, you know to get them to the next exit, however, with these newer cars we have to put in about two so they will start,” Startz said.
Depending on how busy they are at the time, it can take a Road Ranger up to an hour and half to reach a stranded vehicle.
“I don’t think anyone is trying to game the system,” Startz said. “What we see is people, usually towards the end of the week trying to make it to payday and fill up, and sometimes they don’t make it.”
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