Of course, you would never let your tank get so low that the little light popped on warning you that you should really, really refuel, but if you did, this chart outlines exactly how much further you can expect to go on what little is left in the tank.
The chart, from Your Mechanic, doesn’t specify every vehicle, just some of the most commonly purchased consumer vehicles on the roads-but you can likely extrapolate what this might mean for your ride if it’s not represented in the chart. The numbers vary a bit, but you can probably expect to get anywhere from another 30 miles in some economy sedans to a full 90-plus in bigger SUVs and crossovers with larger tanks.
Does that mean you should risk it and drive that far? Of course not-it’s good to know, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory and have an idea of when you’ll find another gas station, but it still means you should refuel at the next immediate opportunity, and don’t let it happen again. It’s also worth keeping in mind that running on low-or-practically-no fuel can damage your vehicle. Sometimes it’s a necessity and happens through no fault of your own, but personally I like to imagine the potential for sitting-in-the-car-for-hours gridlock on every trip I take, and have no desire to be one of those folks who has to abandon their car because a trip I should have been able to complete on a quarter tank went wrong and now I’m out of fuel.
For more on this, on how trustworthy that fuel gauge really is, and other implications of driving on empty, check out the full Your Mechanic post linked below, which includes the chart below.
How Far Can You Drive Your Vehicle On Empty? | Your Mechanic
Photo by Chris Metcalf.