How Far Can You Drive on Empty?

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Picture this:

It’s the weekend and you’re driving around the city. Your gas light comes on. You’re out of fuel.

What do you do? Do you swerve into the closest gas station to fill ‘er up?

Or do you push your luck, blindly believing that there’s no way your car will die on you?

Maybe you’re just that lucky. Maybe you’re a member with the CAA.

But the question I want to ask you is this: How far you can really drive “on empty”?

The boring answer would be a detailed explanation of the interplay between your vehicle’s year, make, model, weight, your driving style, and the terrain.

But I’m not here to bore you!

So let me give you this piece of advice: You need to figure it out the fun way!


One fun way to figure out how far you can drive on empty is by visiting the site TankOnEmpty. It’s a place where drivers actually record how far they were able to drive their vehicles after the gas light came on.

So find your make and model and see how you rank!

Just don’t take these results to heart. Even for a specific vehicle with an extensive list of entries like the Honda Civic, the variations are staggering.

You’ve guessed it - the findings are in no way scientific. But they’re still fun to look at.


To fill or not to fill?

I’m joking. I’ll leave Shakespeare references out of this.

Another way to figure out how far you can drive on empty is by… figuring out how much fuel you have left in your tank! And most vehicles will signal that you’re out of gas when their fuel levels drop below 1/8 of the tank.

So to calculate your range, you need to consider how heavy your vehicle is, factor in your estimate of the remaining fuel (1/8 of the tank), and then come up with a number out of thin air!

My range is…. 57km!

If you’re looking for a more reliable estimate, try this:

When you’re gas light comes on, drive into the nearest gas station and fill up your tank all the way. Then compare how much fuel you filled up with your tank’s capacity. The difference between the two numbers is your secret driving-on-empty reserve.

And if you repeat this process a few more times, you’ll have a very accurate estimate of what your actual range is on empty.


The best way to figure out how far your car can drive on empty is to see how far your car can drive on empty.

So next time your gas light comes on, stay behind the wheel and drive until you’re truly left stranded somewhere.

Then record that number and let me know what it is in the comments below!

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