How Far Can You Drive on an Empty Tank?

Once you drove your car for a long time, you’ve probably felt confused when you’re low on petrol and far from a gas station.

The warning light that indicates you’re running low on gas is really useful. It alerts the drivers that the tank should be refilled. But sometimes it confuses the drivers whether they can drive a bit more or just stop right there.

Some drivers run their tank almost empty before refilling, while others worry at half-full. Regardless of the driving style, you surely wonder how much further you can drive on an empty tank. We’ll be discussing more in detail below.

What Does It Mean to Have an Empty Gas Tank?

Your vehicle will warn you that the gas tank is empty before it becomes truly empty. If the vehicle has a digital gas gauge, you may see that it sometimes indicates that it has gas even while the gas warning light is on.

Even though the gas gauge indicates the vehicle is completely out of fuel, it is not. The gas warning light is only indicating that the tank is empty. But there’s still gas remaining on the tank.

Old automobiles and long-distance autos feature a backup reservoir in case they run out of gas. Newer automobiles don’t have a secondary reserve tank, but they inform you that car’s tank is empty before they really are.

Is It Possible to Drive on an Empty Tank?

Yes, you can drive to a local petrol or gas station. However, don’t always drive with a low gasoline level since it’s a risky thing to do. Also, it harms the vehicle’s condition. The vehicle speed and street surfaces may also affect the ability to reach a gas station.

Even if you do have sufficient petrol to drive to the gas station, driving with a nearly empty tank is bad for the vehicle. If there is waste or impurities in the gas they will settle at the base of the tank. So, refill your tank from a well-known station.

As long as you have enough gasoline in the tank, the vehicle will avoid cycling them. When you’re almost out of gas, though, you’ll start using the remaining residues and pollutants at the base of the tank. This will pass through the gasoline system, causing major harm to the engine over time.

You may potentially experience mechanical failure if you run out of petrol or gas completely. Not only is this will cause problems, but it is also harmful to the engine.

How Far Can a Vehicle Go Without Gas?

It depends on the vehicle and how far you can drive on an empty tank. The capacity of the vehicle’s petrol tank and the vehicle’s gas mileage both have an impact on this.

Typically, the empty gas warning light will show whenever the gas tank is between 15 and 10 percent. Consequently, if the vehicle can go around 250 miles on a single tank of petrol, you may likely travel 35 to 40 miles after the gas empty tank indicator illuminates.

For several vehicles, it is possible to go a little far, although it is challenging and not advised. And if you’re stopped in a line of traffic, your fuel economy or gas mileage will be noticeably worse, and that 35-40 miles may become 10-25.

What to Do If the Gas Tank Is Empty?

If the gas light turns on, you must immediately drive to a filling station. If you need to travel more than 15 miles to reach a gas station, you should attempt to save gasoline in any way possible.

Keep a stable speed and use the accelerator pedal lightly. Drive in the right-hand lane beside the passenger’s lane so that you can pull over to the roadside if the vehicle breaks down. If you really need to stop beside the roadside, you may call a friend to bring the gas or contact any roadside help.

Every time allowing the gas tank to go on low is not a smart option and should be avoided. However, you must have sufficient gasoline in the tank to drive you to the next filling station.

Vehicle Brand


Gas remaining when the low fuel warning light shows up

Miles remaining when the warning light shows up



1/16th of a Tank




Not Available




2.0 Gallons




3.0 Gallons




2.6 Gallons




Not Available



Sierra Denali

4 Gallons




2.8 Gallons




3 Gallons


Final Note

Low gas warning lights may be frustrating particularly on roads at night with no service outlets in sight. So, make sure you refill your tank on time before driving.

The vehicle’s model and make determine how far you can travel with an empty tank. If you have a newer car, one from the past 5-8 years, it probably has a feature that indicates to you how many miles are remaining. Usually, between 35-40 miles is the maximum limit.

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