This Chart Shows How Far You Can Drive Your Car On Empty


There are two types of drivers: Those who run to a gas station when their gas tank is barely half empty and those who coast in on fumes, waiting as long as possible to get gas.

If you’re the first type, then bravo. You will probably never need to worry about running out of gas.

If you’re the second type, whether it’s that you’re too lazy to stop for gas or that you’re not paying attention to how much gas you have until the light comes on indicating that you’re low on gas (we’ve been there), it might be helpful for you to know just how far you can drive before you’re really, truly out of gas.

You might think you already know the answer to this question since many modern cars tell you how many miles you have left before you run out of gas. It’s not a good idea to rely on this number because the number of miles you supposedly have left is calculated based on your usual driving conditions.

For example, if you usually drive on the freeway, you don’t want to be counting on having 20 miles left before running out of gas if you happen to get stuck in traffic. You probably wouldn’t be able to drive nearly that far before your car would stop.

To find out a more accurate answer to how far your vehicle make and model can go before you’d end up stranded, check out the chart below which includes the 50 best-selling cars in the U.S. (at least, in 2015).

Now that you know just how far you can expect to drive when your low fuel warning light comes on, let’s take a step back and talk about why it’s not good to make a habit out of letting your car run on empty. There are obvious reasons like not wanting to get stuck on the side of the road somewhere, but did you know that running on empty can actually damage your car?

Any debris in the gas naturally settles to the bottom of your gas tank, and when it gets really low, that debris will be sent through your fuel pump. If you continuously let your vehicle run extremely low on gas, this could cause damage to your fuel pump. If you actually run out of gas, you could also damage your catalytic converter which might end up needing to be repaired or replaced.

While you don’t have to fill up your gas tank when it’s only half empty, a good rule of thumb is to fill it up when you have about a quarter of a tank of gas left. It’s better for your car, and you won’t have to worry about getting stuck along the side of the road.

Do you let your car get low on fuel very often? Have you ever run out of gas?