When the low fuel light comes on in my car, I pull into the next gas station I see and fill up the tank. My girlfriend does not. Since I can't convince her to get gas immediately, there's a website that might help her figure out just how far she can go before I have to go find her on the side of the road out of gas.

This one time, we got into her car to go to dinner with friends at Rose's in Windham. I highly recommend the meat lasagna. It's the best!

As I started it up, the low fuel light immediately came on.

Jeff Parsons - Townsquare Media
Jeff Parsons - Townsquare Media

15 miles to empty!

This is the worst invention in cars for people who challenge the low fuel light. It used to be you had no idea how far you could drive. Now the onboard computer tries to make a calculation for you. Let me tell you, it's not always right. Based on how you're driving, those 15 miles can change drastically.

She's run out of gas before too. The call from her went like this:

Her: 'My car was running fine and then just stalled. I started it back up, went a little way and it stalled again.'

Me: 'Is the gas light on?'

Her: 'Yes. But it just came on a little while ago.'

Me: 'I'll go grab a gas can and be right there.'

Don't do this! If the gas light comes on it means get gas!

Car manufacturers do not recommend rolling the dice against the low fuel light. It typically means you have a couple of gallons left before the reserve kicks in.


Do you still want to push it? Okay, you daredevil. There's a solution for you, but don't blame me when you're stranded on the side of the road with a burned-out fuel pump, because I warned you.

The website Tank on Empty collects data from users telling them how far they drove after the light came on and ran out of gas with their car. They average the data together for the same make and model and come up with the number of miles you MAY be able to drive before you run out.

Remember, your use may vary. So many factors can change your gas mileage. Road conditions, your speed, the health of your engine, and even the weather can play a part. Once again you've been warned.

Car refueling on gas station. Woman pumping gasoline oil.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Here are the results of how far on average some of the more popular makes and models submitted to Tank on Empty can drive.

  • Honda Accord 45.50 miles on average
  • Honda Civic 43.23 miles on average
  • Toyota Corolla 44.63 miles on average
  • Toyota Camry 42.62 miles on average
  • Ford Focus 41.14 miles on average
  • Ford F-150 38.80 miles on average
  • Mazda Miata 35.35 miles on average
  • Volkswagen Jetta 44.21 miles on average
  • Volkswagen Golf 43.34 miles on average
  • Chevrolet Silverado 34.03 miles on average

If your car isn't listed here, you can search for it on the site.

Once again, I can't warn you enough. As someone who has had to go to the hardware store to buy a gas can, fill it up at a gas station, drive to the car that's out of gas and pour some in the tank, you don't want to run out. I don't want you to run out! When the light comes on get gas at the next available gas station, even if they're full serve and 50 cents more expensive than your regular fill-up station.

How far have you driven in your car after the light came on? Have you ever run out of gas? Let us know in the comments.

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

LOOK: See the iconic cars that debuted the year you were born

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