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How Far Can You Drive Your Vehicle On Empty?

Many drivers start to worry when that little red gas pump light comes on, and unless they know their car's fuel usage well they start to wonder how far they'll be able to go before they totally run out of gas.

Most cars have about 1 to 3 gallons left when the gas light comes on, which is why it's good to know how many miles per gallon your car gets so you know how far you can go before it sputters out.

This handy chart created by YourMechanic shows how much gas is remaining, and how far the car can go, when the fuel warning light is triggered in the 50 best selling cars in the U.S., so you'll never have to pull a Kramer to find out.

(YouTube Link)

See full sized chart here

-Via Good Housekeeping


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Newest 5 Comments

My mechanic explained this to me just recently, as he had a client who never put more than a quarter tank in and then let it run to empty. He made a lot of money off that guy.
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Something else to consider; modern cars have the fuel pump IN the gas tank, using fuel as coolant for the pump. Letting the gas get too low will stress the pump... do that too often and you may need a new gas pump, which means (A) a lot of labor costs to replace the pump, or (B) a new gas tank (or a referb if you're lucky). My advice: don't press your luck, stop and refuel ASAP.
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My parents' first Volkswagen didn't even have a gas gauge. When you ran out of gas, you flipped a lever to open the reserve tank. It had a half-gallon in it.
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You're right to not trust that "miles left" reading. Most cars with that feature just estimate that on past fuel usage. If you're doing something that takes more gas than usual, you just might run out earlier than expected.
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I guess that information is based on a normal functioning gas tank gauge. My first new car, 1963 Dodge Dart GT, I was driving and the gauge read 1/4 full when I ran out of gas. To this day I seldom let my car go w/o filling when it gets to around 1/4 full. My newest vehicle, 2010 Hyundai, has a reading that estimates how many miles you can go. I don't even trust that.
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