QOTD: Suddenly Feeling Empty?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd suddenly feeling empty

We can poo-poo electric cars and their relatively short ranges all day, but the vastness of geography and the inherent frailties of man’s psyche often leave ICE drivers in a similar situation. Gasoline and diesel vehicles sometimes run dry, despite a century’s worth of refueling infrastructure littering the country.

Bad weather, bad drivers, and bad passengers can certainly play a role in white-knuckle driving, but there’s nothing like a gas gauge needle edging towards empty to create an atmosphere of dread.

“I’ll fill up along the way,” you may have said while setting out on a trip, brimming with confidence and manly bravado. This utterance may have been followed, eventually, by:

“Meh, I think I can get there on what I have.”

“Crap, maybe I can’t. Okay, no problem, there’s a station up ahead, just before the scary woods that never seem to end. The place where they found that body.”

“Oh shit — it’s closed.”

At this point, our hypothetical driver is SOL. Or at least he/she/them was, until the advent of cell phones — assuming they’re within range. If they’re not, there’ll be nothing but passing motorists (if there are any, and if they’re friendly), and maybe that terrifyingly decrepit farmhouse a mile yonder to count on. Uber Gas won’t save them here, though a warm blanket and a .380 auto might.

While most of us are adult enough to avoid such a disaster, life sometimes throws hurdles our way. An unexpected detour can place many additional miles between us and the nearest pump, for example.

What’s the most stressful or trying fuel gauge-related memory you can dredge up?

[Image: General Motors]

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  • -Nate -Nate on Jan 28, 2020

    Oh, boy ~ I can hardly wait to read the horror stories . I remember when there were less that 1/2 as many cars and about 15 X more gas stations than we have now.... -Nate

  • -Nate -Nate on Jan 28, 2020

    FWIW ; High pressure Electric fuel pumps made on the BOSCH pattern use the flowing gasoline to lubricate them as as soon as you run it out of fuel you begin to ruin the bushings on the armature . Any time you hear a squealing noise from an F.I. pump, it's getting ready to do you dirt . -Nate

  • White Shadow White Shadow on Jan 28, 2020

    I've yet to drive a car that didn't get me to a gas station after the low fuel light illuminated. No worries, no stress.

  • JustVUEit JustVUEit on Mar 25, 2020

    It was a Thanksgiving day some 30 years or so ago, back when everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was closed for the holiday. I was already low on gas having forgotten to get some the day before, but mom sent my dad and me out for some last-minute dinner items, including a bag of ice. The nearest store was 10 miles away and I had maybe 30 miles of gas left in the tank. We got to the first store and it was closed, as was the gas station next door. We kept going down the road, me looking for gas and dad any open convenience or food store. I saw one gas station with a car at the pumps so I pulled in, but it turned out it was closed and the car at the pumps was dripping whatever gas he could out of the hoses. I did the same, denying the fool like me a few drops of gas and giving me maybe another mile's worth. We move on down the road, and I stop at every closed station to shake whatever remaining gas in the hoses into my tank. I reach the point of no return where I'm not sure we can even make it back home, and we finally find an open station that had the ice, food items, and gas.