How Far You Can Really Drive on Empty Depends on Your Car’s Gas Mileage

Find a Car with great Gas Mileage at Valley Automall

When your vehicle’s fuel gauge drops to empty and the dashboard low-fuel light turns on, there still some gasoline left in the tank to drive on. Most drivers don’t know exactly how much gasoline is left and how far they can drive, though. While the possible gas mileage when the tank reads empty varies by model, here’s a look at how far you can go:

How Much Fuel Is Left?
How much gasoline is left in a vehicle once the fuel gauge reads empty varies from one vehicle to the next, but most have a decent amount of gas left. Vehicles tend to have anywhere from 1.6 gallons (the Toyota Prius) to 4 gallons (the Toyota Tundra and GMC Sierra Denali) left in the tank when the low-fuel warning light comes on. The trigger is almost universally 2 gallons or higher in non-hybrid vehicles, with the exception of the Honda Civic, which activates its low-fuel warning at 1.9 gallons. Ford models, interestingly, don’t have a specific number of gallons but rather notify the driver of waning fuel supplies when the gas tank reaches 1/16th its capacity.

How Far You Can Drive
How far you can drive on empty varies even more than the exact number of gallons left when the low fuel alert is triggered, for total range is affected by many factors. The amount of fuel left, the vehicle model’s typical gas mileage, current driving conditions, and driver input all impact potential range. In general, however, you have enough fuel left when the low fuel light comes on to get to the next highway exit. You can even go a couple of exits in many cases, and some vehicles are capable of traveling between two close cities before they run out of fumes.

As a guideline, you can assume that most models have a range of at least 30 miles when the alert comes on. Many can go 40 miles or more, and 80-something is a common maximum range on lots of models. Select vehicles will reach 90 to 110+ miles in ideal driving conditions before they’re actually sputtering.

You Shouldn’t Drive on Empty
Just because you can drive when the fuel gauge reads empty doesn’t mean that you should. Dragging the last few gallons of fuel through your engine pulls gasoline from the bottom of the gas tank, and there are often particles suspended in this gasoline. These impurities can clog up your fuel filter and force a premature replacement of the part, and they could cause engine wear if they make it to the combustion chambers. The best action is to fill up your gas tank the moment your fuel gauge reaches empty – or preferably even before that.

Find a New or Used Vehicle with Optimum Gas Mileage at Valley Automall

If you want a fuel-efficient vehicle that can go many miles between fill-ups, take a look at the inventory at Valley Automall. From hybrids to efficient subcompacts, we have many new cars, crossovers, trucks, and other vehicles that get great gas mileage. Contact us today at 702-570-2257 to learn about our extensive inventory.