By on January 28, 2020

2014 Chevrolet Suburban - Image: Chevrolet

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]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

59 Comments on “QOTD: Suddenly Feeling Empty?...”


  • avatar
    Jon

    One of the soccer moms whose children attend my childrens school, drives a pink G-wagon. She has run out of gas more than a dozen times. Each incident has been thoroughly documented on Facebook Live or some other social media platform by herself or her husband (documented for entertainment for her 100,000 followers, not for proof for the manufacturer). She claims it is the vehicles fault. He says its the drivers fault. Most of their spirited arguments about fault are also thoroughly documented on facebook, twitter or instagram. (facepalm)

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      She’s just not paying attention to the gas gauge.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Or the inevitable low fuel warning light and/or message in the cluster.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          Since i don’t subscribe to social media, my household social medial manager showed me the womans latest video a few weeks ago. I usually decline to watch these videos but in hopes of special attention later, I obliged. It was a flurry of bright hair, giant sunglasses and generational acronyms that I didn’t understand. At one point she pointed her phone at the dash which showed a gas gauge that displayed slightly above empty.

          Any normal person would take their car to the dealership to fix the gauge after the first or second time that this occurred. Somehow, she has managed to ignore the problem and run out of fuel 11 times. I cant say i am surprised considering the number of videos that she posts while driving. If her phone had an app that told her to fill up with gas, she would never run out again.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “but in hopes of special attention later”

            LOL As a comedian once said, “women are magnets and I’m cheep metal.”

            Every vehicle I have ever owned has had a gas gauge that was slightly different as far as reading empty. The Safari van I had would sputter to the side of the road the moment it hit the last mark. My F150 has a countdown. You adjust to the vehicle.
            My Suzuki DRZ400SM motorcycle does not have a gauge so it is a bit of “Russian Roulette” on long trips with a stock 10 litre tank. I’ve misjudged and ran out of fuel several times but the “prime” setting on the petcock gives me another 20-30 km. A 15 litre tank will be on order prior to this year’s riding season.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      She sounds like one of those stupid people who complained to JD Power about Hummer’s lousy mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      Sounds like a friend’s wife. Since I am normally up all night, so he called me once at 2am, and asked me to go buy a 2 gallon can and take it to her at her sister’s house out in the middle of nowhere. If I hadn’t had nav on my phone, I don’t know if I could have ever found the house. I dump the gas in, and the car finally started after what seemed a long wait for fuel pressure to build up. A couple of weeks later, I was in Columbus, and she called me to ask if I could bring her gas again, “I don’t want to call him because he will yell at me again!” After I told her I was 2+1/2 hours away, she got all shaky and said, “Oh man, he’s gonna go off on me!”. I asked her how the hell she could run out of gas even one time in that car, it has an accurate gauge and the idiot light on the dash. “I don’t know!”. And he did go off on her. After 30+ years of marriage, he should have just let it slide, and save his rage for something more serious.

      Same woman blew up two engines after driving with the Oil light on. Crazy thing is, she actually isn’t stupid in most ways.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    I remember the only time I’ve ever run out of gas, and it wasn’t my fault.
    It was 1988 and me and 2 friends headed up to Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin, for a Dead show. My trusty old 1979 Dodge Diplomat was our conveyance.
    In those days, most of the parking at Alpine Valley was in the surrounding corn fields. Well, of course it rained, and the fields turned into mud pits. It took hours and hours just to get onto the road because everybody was stuck in the mud (and probably tripping too).
    I had more than a half-tank of gas before we started, more than enough to get home, but idling in that field for several hours burned most of it off. Again, it being 1988 there was not a all-night gas station at every corner, so we headed down Illinois Rt 47 hoping to make it to Woodstock, where there was a 24-hr gas station.
    We ran out about 5 miles north of town. A few minutes later, a county sheriff stopped by to see what was going on at 4 in the morning. He gave me a ride into town (luckily I had a gas can) and said, “If I don”t get a call, I’ll take you back”. He didn’t, so I got out of this bind pretty easily.
    My buds stayed with the car and were clearly still under the influence of whatever they partook of at the concert. They said the cows were sneezing at them.

  • avatar
    Right_Click_Refresh

    What’s the point?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      What’s the point? It’s story time here at TTAC where all us boomers talk about car related things that happened back in the day. If you don’t have stories to share, sit tight, you will :)

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    This was an important article.
    Glad I stopped by this morning….

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I recall back in 2003 during the big blackout that affected the entire eastern half of the US. It took me 6 hours to get home from work that day, my wife was in a similar situation. My wife, of course made it home on E. I had a little less than a quarter tank in my Mazda Protege3.

    It just so happened that I had a generator to save the food in our fridge and run a few lights, TV and fans, but of course no gas.

    As you may recall, the easternmost portion of the blackout went half way across Michigan and ended in the Lansing area which was about 80-90 miles west of where I live in the Detroit area. There was no getting gas along the way as none of the pumps had power and when I got there I would probably have to wait in line to get gas for who knows how long as they were the only working pumps nearest the entire eastern side of Michigan. I decided to go for it. Needless to say I was on fumes but made it without incident. Probably a bad decision in hindsight as the infrastructure for a rescue was down, but I would say that is the worst range anxiety I have experienced.

    • 0 avatar
      Mnemic

      I remember the blackout, we were driving around in an 80’s dodge ramcharger and found a lone gas station with power and gas. Thankfully we lived in a farm house back then so we weren’t really affected at all. Power was out but it was summer and we had booze.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Having to go 40 miles to the next gas station in a Mazda Tribute that had 2 gallons left (the yellow gas pump was lit) and was hoping my new Tribute actually got the 21 mpg promised. It did, but man I was sweating bullets. Turned off the a/c and did my best to coast the rolling hills

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    OPEC ‘oil crisis’. Remember when if you had a license plate ending in an even number you could only purchase fuel on even days. Same for odd number plates/days.

    And often the amount of fuel that you could purchase was limited.

    We were in the Buffalo area. Every gas station that we found had signs stating ‘no gas’.

    Headed back to Canada. Fuel gauge was so low that we just put a cigarette package in front of it, so that we would not fixate on it. Got stuck in the line at Customs.

    Got through, drove into Niagara Falls, Ontario and spotted an open station. Finally ran out of fuel about 150 yards away from it. Pushed the car (a Gremlin) to the station. Which had a big portable sign out front stating “aren’t you glad we don’t have a gas shortage in Canada?”.

    Wife ran out in a GM vehicle in the early part of this century when they had some issues with their fuel gauges. Particularly when using Shell gas. Shell actually had to change part of their formulation due to this. She doesn’t listen to me, so did not remember to always keep that vehicle at more than 1/2 tank.

    2003 blackout. At a hockey tournament. Fortunately I never let my tank go below half. About 4 members of the team ran out. That is when we learned that it is very hard to manually (spit) siphon gas for/from newer vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      It was my job to shuttle the family cars to the gas station and wait in line during the OPEC ‘oil crisis’. I discovered it was a great time to do my homework :)

    • 0 avatar
      TR4

      “Remember when if you had a license plate ending in an even number you could only purchase fuel on even days. Same for odd number plates/days.”

      Boy, I really despised that idiotic policy. The first time it happened ca. 1973 I would typically buy gas every five days. So I had to change to buying it every four days. IOW the policy was making things worse not better. I’m guessing many people would have been in the same situation. All the policy did was prevent idiots from buying gas every day due to panicking.

      The second time it happened ca. 1979 I was prepared. My wife and I had consecutive plates, so one odd and one even. It was a simple matter to switch the plates depending on which car needed gas and what day it was.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Watched my dad beg for fuel to run his business using an international step van. All the station owners helped him out.

      I’ve run out twice both times coasted to the pump. Once blew through a four way but made it.

      The bullet sweat was pressing beyond Salt Lake City, then the last fuel station I80 east of the city, then no turnaround for 40 miles. Employed every trick in the book. AC off, natural on the declines 60 in an 80 zone. Chevy Impala 18 gallon tank 619 miles on the trip meter. Refilled 17.9 gallons.

      34 mpg From a 3.6L never felt so good.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Visiting Motown to look at a prospective race car purchase…Feb 1974…Arab oil embargo hitting hard…Sunday afternoon…stations closed…nursed my 240Z back to the Ohio Turnpike where the service plaza had a supply at the (then exorbitant) price.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Mom and I were heading from the Bay Area to Willits one friday night in her ’62 Olds. I wasn’t of driving age yet.
    Somewhere around Cloverdale about 8 PM the thirsty 394 had just about drained the tank and there wasn’t an open station in town.

    So she went into the nearest bar, asked if there was anyone who had gas available and sure enough the owner of the local Chevron station was sitting there already snockered..but he took pity on her, and wobbled out to his truck to unlock the pumps for us.

    It was a clear night, no fog, but he still turned on his wipers to see better, that was how sloshed he was.

    All went well. We bought gas and made the trip and who knows if he went back to the bar, but we appreciated his kindness.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    Most pucker inducing low fuel experience was finding myself on backroads working my way from the Black Hills South Dakota towards Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. According to the google there was a gas station 20 miles ahead, but I had 16 miles on the gauge.

    Then, out of the blue we see a little side store nestled up against a river and a bluff, with two uncovered manual gas pumps. Marriage saved.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Three slightly different instances in 40 years of driving:

    1. At the age of 17, I ran my Pinto out of gas near home. No big deal; I walked a half mile to the gas station and took care of it with the few dollars I had on me.

    2. Drove all the way across Pennsylvania in a rainstorm in my LeBaron GTS, only to run out of gas in the gas station. I had to swing the car around to reprime the fuel pump so I could pull up to the pump island.

    3. Worst of all – I let my 8-month pregnant wife run out of gas in the snow, after assuring her she’d make it to work. This was in the city, so someone helped her (as she was trying to push the car), and they passed a tough message to me through her. Ugh.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    My very first was a ’69 VW Fastback. The guy I bought it from said the gas gauge never really got to empty, so it really was a guessing game of when you about to run dry. But he also said that if it started to sputter, jump out and pop off the gas cap. It will release the vacuum in the gas lines and give you another mile or so. Sure enough, it started to sputter out on me, my brother quickly jumped out and popped the gas cap. The car restarted and got me that last mile to the gas station.

    Different subject:
    I heard in the early days of (electronic) fuel injection that if you ran out of gas you could seriously damage your engine. Was this ever true or some car-myth.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Maybe fuel-pump damage at most. Or is that with a modern vehicle?

      B&B?

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        I’d always heard that if you run low too many times the pump could be damaged. If I recall correctly the fuel acts to cool the pump and running low repeatedly could cause it to overheat. Most of my vehicles have been post 1995 and have a pretty healthy reserve once the gauge reads empty, and I haven’t had the misfortune of running out of gas. Then again I tend to fill at half or a tick under half, especially during winter. Most recently the gas light came on in the CX-5 and when I stopped I still had roughly 5 gallons left.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          It’s probably true, but I hope not, both for the fuel pump and my peace of mind. My wife’s previous daily driver was our cheap-lease short-range electric car, which recalibrated her sense of how many miles left equaled “low on fuel.” And her current daily driver is our gas-swilling SUV…a model known for over-optimistic range readings that sometimes leave people stranded. She’s constantly flying close to the sun with that gas gauge.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yes the in tank pumps are cooled by the fuel that flows through them. So yeah best not to run out of fuel.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Living in FL during hurricanes having stations with no gas (or power) is very common. However if you plan properly its not a problem. Just make sure to fill up a day or two before and limit trips. I’ve siphoned gas from my boat before, it holds 28 gallons so I’ve got a small supply sitting in my garage to keep me going during storms. During Wilma it was pretty bad, we had no power for 2 weeks, so we temporarily relocated to central FL. During the drive up we went for nearly 2 hours (130 miles) before reaching a place that had fuel. This was not a problem for us, but for someone coming from Miami or the Keys they would have gone 3 to 5 hours and likely been pretty worried.

    I don’t understand how people run out of gas these days unless you in no-man’s land. My current fleet of vehicles have THREE separate warnings about low fuel: gas gauge (duh), low fuel light and a message that appears on the dash (you even have to push a button to dismiss this message). These tend to come on with 40 miles to go which I found to be conservative. I’ve estimated I could go about 55 miles after the warning if I pushed it. Based on capacity there seems to be about 2 gallons remaining in the tank even when its on “E”.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yes most of today’s gauges leave a large reserve in the tank as do the DTE warnings. On mine the warning that you have to push a button to clear happens the first time at 50 miles to empty, then again at 44, 38 and from there it gets more and more frequent the closer you get to 0. Of course each time it overrides the existing info with that it beeps too.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The only time I ever ran out of gas was in my brand new GT500, not a week after buying it.

    Ford installed a faulty fuel pump that would only pick up from one side of the tank, so once you got to 1/4 indicated, the gauge would immediately drop to empty and you’d “run out” with 4 gallons left. Luckily this happened 100 yards from my driveway and I was able to walk home and get the gas can.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yikes. What was the process like to get that remedied?

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Frustratingly, the problem was known to Ford at the time and a TSB had been written some time before.

        I drove back to the dealership and gave them an earful for selling me a car with a known issue (in hindsight, it was much less their fault than I thought at the time). They put me in a loaner, gave me a free oil change, and the pump was replaced under warranty. Never had an issue again.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’d say the most stressful time was in our then relatively new 03 Mercury Mountaineer with the distance to empty gauge. We were traveling on I5 through central CA late in the evening with my then young children.

    This of course was before the days of smart phones that could give you directions to the nearest gas station. The low fuel warning had come on and the map showed the next substantial town was further away than the indicated range.

    We came across a sign saying there was fuel at the next exit and when we got off the freeway it was obvious that it was in a town not near the freeway and being late I seriously wondered if it would be open. So I turned around and got back on the freeway now really stressing that I had wasted some of the precious fuel.

    We pressed on and the DTE hit zero miles to empty and we were ~5 miles away from that town on the freeway. We did make it there and with a sigh of relief I did put almost, but not quite, the rated tank capacity in it.

    Of course at the time I had no way of knowing how that DTE or particular fuel gauge was calibrated. Now with the advent of the cheap OBDII dongle and apps I know that they are padding that DTE by at least 5 miles and often 10 depending on where you are at in actual level. It also shows that the indicated fuel level does not match what is displayed overstating the actual amount of fuel near the top end of the scale and understating it on the low end. It also shows how on most cars everything else on the instrument cluster is a lie, other than the odometer. Dummy oil pressure gauges, temp gauges that show the exact same reading for a 20-40 degree range. Volt meters that indicate the same whether the reading is 13v or 15v.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Oh and I forgot about the time traveling through Montana with the even younger family in our minivan. I ran out on the off ramp at the exit for the gas station I was trying to make it too. I guy following me ran me over to the station but they didn’t have a loaner can. Thankfully across the intersection was a hardware store that did. So I bought one, went over to the station and carried the fuel the 3 blocks or so back to the waiting family.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    “I heard in the early days of (electronic) fuel injection that if you ran out of gas you could seriously damage your engine. Was this ever true or some car-myth”
    It’s unlikely to damage the engine, but it can wreck the fuel pump.
    My nervous fuel situation was many decades ago. I had gone to the USGP at Monterey and was returning to where I was staying for the weekend.
    Somewhere north of Gilroy on the 101, headed toward San Jose, I looked at the instrument cluster and thought, I’ve traveled quite a few miles on this tank.
    Just at that point the engine started to missfire. My Yamaha did not have a reserve tap and there was little except farms and ranches in that area then.
    There was an off ramp so I took it figuring it would be better to be off the freeway. As I got to the end of the ramp I saw a new gas station all lit up. At that point I was coasting, right into the station. Stopped at the pumps, put the side-stand down, and filled up.
    Just like I knew what I was doing.
    This was before cell phones and the next place to buy gas was 20 miles away.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Driving in northern Ontario you can go for an hour or more without seeing a gas station. One winter I discovered my usual gas station had become seasonal – I.e. it was closed. My wife wasn’t too impressed as we coasted on fumes for half an hour before the next gas station.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @deanst – In my part of Northern BC the furthest between gas stations on the paved roads are probably 2.5 – 3 hours. I’ve been in some very remote areas without any issue. I do bring spare fuel. I only get range anxiety on my little motorcycle.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Was driving a VERY used and abused 1973 Chevy 3/4 ton ranch truck down the freeway when is started sputtering due to fuel starvation. With a now shut-down engine, I coasted up a freeway onramp, and into an adjacent filling station stall. The truck stopped in precisely the exact spot I would have parked it if the engine had been running. I should have purchased a lottery ticket that day!

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Was driving a VERY used and abused 1973 Chevy 3/4 ton ranch truck (fuel gauge nonop) down the freeway when it started sputtering due to fuel starvation. With a now shut-down engine, I coasted up a freeway exit ramp, muscled it around a corner, and into an adjacent filling station stall. The truck stopped in precisely the exact spot I would have parked it if the engine had been running. I should have purchased a lottery ticket that day!

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Until recently (I am now 52) my bladder would last longer than the 400+ mile range of my fuel tank. Now, not so much. As such, my “range” is about 250 mile, so I fill up the tank when nature calls!

  • avatar
    ptschett

    One of my dad’s ’78 F-150 4×4’s had the 400M engine, something like a 500 CFM aftermarket carb (though still just a 2-barrel), and only the standard single 16-gallon gas tank under the back end of the box. You could just about see the gas gauge needle moving as you were driving.

    My maybe funniest memory of its fuel woes, I actually wasn’t driving it. My dad had run out of gas going home one mid-winter night, coming to a stop in the driving lane in the bottom of the river valley a mile from home; he got out and walked the last mile. When I came along behind the pickup in my ’73 Cougar, I knew it was there because the parking lights were on, but I didn’t realize it was stopped till too late, and with the ice on the road my panic-stop led to me getting stuck in the snow in the ditch to avoid hitting the pickup. About 5 minutes into my pondering of what to do (this was pre-cell phone era), my dad shows up in my mom’s car with the gas can.

  • avatar
    brettc

    My former wife ran out of fuel two times that I can remember in her 2000 Jetta TDI. Unless things have changed in recent years, AAA would put a diesel car onto a flatbed and drive to a station that has diesel and fill it up there. We got her into a gas Jetta in 2014 and no problems since. Luckily I no longer have to worry about her lack of attention to the fuel gauge.

    I’ve never run out myself, but have been on the NY thruway in my old Jetta TDI wagon with 0 miles of range showing. I was pulling into the fuel station with that warning, but I still had about a little under a gallon left based on what I pumped into it.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Since we’re telling former wife stories…mine was on a roadtrip to Reno in our very used Jag XJ6. Calls me about midnight, she’s in the middle of nowhere and the car has stopped running. Eventually she gets a tow, the mechanic spends couple hours under the hood…then asks “Does this thing have two gas tanks?” She confirms it does, pushes the button to switch tanks, and vroom vroom, all is well. *sigh*

      A few weeks later the car’s getting towed from her work site, as yet another starter motor has self-destructed. As the driver’s hooking it up, her boss comes up to me and whispers “Hey, did you try switching tanks?”

      I’ve personally been pretty lucky, twice I’ve had the engine quit as I pulled into the gas station and coasted to the pump.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    In the days of paper maps (only) I used to traverse Ohio on I-75 several times a year. I would usually take I-75 straight through Cincinnati. Took the I-275 bypass (east side) for a change and discovered that it was a *long* stretch of road with no fuel stations (at the time) close to where I was driving.

    Felt silly to be in danger of running out of fuel “in” a major city, but, you know – Ohio*. :-)

    *I have relatives (some very close) from this state – but they moved. LOL

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Life lesson learned this past summer: Before entering Yellowstone (3,471 square miles), fill up completely. The fuel prices inside the park will get your attention.

      “Established over 65 years ago, Yellowstone Park Service Stations, Inc. (YPSS) is the only authorized service station concessioner operating in Yellowstone today.”

      News flash: Monopolies don’t have competitive pricing.

      Business tip: If your automotive dealership franchise deal doesn’t work out, try to get one of the “concessions” inside the National Park System. Life without competition is good. (Check out Xanterra/Philip Anschutz.)

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Two stories:

    1) Driving my 1987 Taurus in high school, forgot to fill up on two straight days. Being young and stupid I figured I could make it home even with the gas needle entirely below the red “empty” range on the gauge. To get home I had to cross the SR 520 floating bridge near Seattle, which at the time was narrow with no shoulders. Floating bridges have a middle section that, well, floats, with “high rises” on each side for boats to pass underneath. Climbing the high rise at the end of the bridge, the car started to sputter. It kept running just enough for me to get over the high rise at about 30 mph, after which there is a downhill section leading to the next exit. I cruised down the hill gaining speed, coasted up the exit ramp, ran a stop sign, and coasted into the gas station across the intersection from the exit ramp. That gas station no longer exists (it was sitting on ridiculously expensive real estate even then). That’s the only time I’ve ever actually run out of gas.

    2) Driving my G8 GXP across the country when I moved from DC back home to Seattle in 2012, I was near the end of driving day #2, trying to get to Rapid City, SD for the night. I blithely passed the Sioux Falls area with less than 1/8 of a tank, seeing tons of town names on my Garmin’s map and assuming there would be plentiful gas along I-90. The G8 GXP’s gas gauge had a habit, which I never fully internalized during the entire six years I owned it, of dropping like a stone once it got near empty. Turned out those “town names” were basically names of private ranches and there was no gas anywhere. Eventually, getting panicky, I pulled off at an exit ramp marked “no services” and asked the Garmin to show me a gas station. It directed me a few miles off I-90 at an upcoming exit, to a tiny town called Salem. I followed the directions, and, sure enough, saw a Cenex. Relieved, I pulled into the Cenex, which had old-fashioned pumps with no card readers, and pumped the tank capacity minus about a gallon into to the car. Then I had to pay for my gas. The Cenex was attached to a little coffee shop. I walked in, and the place was absolutely packed with older locals, all over 70, almost all men. Every one of them stopped talking and stared at me as I made my way to the cashier, who ran my card in silence except for confirming the pump number. The heads continued to follow me as I walked out. It is the single place I’ve felt the most unwelcome in my entire life, and that includes plenty of city establishments where I was the only white person present and plenty of others where I was the only straight person present. Probably worth mentioning that the GXP had DC plates and was newer than all the trucks parked outside by at least 20 years.

    • 0 avatar
      ptschett

      Unless there were exits closed for construction, you had about 3 chances to have stopped between Sioux Falls and Salem. Eastern SD’s not *that* de-populated. :)

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It may have been that those places were also not visible or marked from the freeway. I promise you there was no gas station visible from the freeway for quite some distance.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Only 2 times I can recall that I was in danger of running out of gas and ironically both times it was in a red station wagon and both times traveling on vacation from NM to Ohio and back.

    In the mid 00s I was hauling across Kansas in a 1997 Ford Escort wagon painted Vermillion Red and was not paying adequate attention to the gas gauge. Ended up finding one of the last Stuckey’s on I-70 in middle of nowhere to fill up at. Was starting to droop past E when I filled up.

    In July 2019 I was hauling across OK with the DIC on my Rioja Red TourX displaying speed and “miles to empty”. Not far outside of Oklahoma City as the miles to empty started to droop below 100 the DIC decided to freeze up and stop counting down the miles. The gauge was still working and I kept an eyeball on it determined to make it into Weatherford for our evening’s lodgings. I made it but I think there was only about a 1/2 gallon left in the tank when I filled up.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    My wife is notorious for this. I recall back in 2000 or so we were taking her car to go somewhere. As we were driving I noted the gas gauge was VERY low. It was low enough that when I took a corner the engine struggled from fuel starvation. I asked if she had her cellphone with her (I didn’t have one) and she did. Whew! “But the battery is dead.” D’oh. We turned around, went home and got my car.

    There are frequent times when I get in her vehicle and both the low fuel and low washer fluid lights are on.

    Not to be smug, but in the summer I treat 1/4 tank as empty and in the winter I treat 1/2 tank as empty. Purely a safety thing.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    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

  • avatar
    -Nate

    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

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    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.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • mopar4wd: Funny thing Been shopping these versus Durango etc as 4-5 year old used cars. The resale on the Durango and...
  • dal20402: Golf R (when it comes back) and Civic Type R despite the lack of driven rear wheels.
  • ToolGuy: Maybe worse than you would first think. Take this guy out of his seat, change the direction of the impact,...
  • dal20402: They’d have to find a way to lose 400 pounds and 10 inches to make that happen.
  • dal20402: $3500 is too much. That’s total ownership costs for two high-end luxury cars or three near-luxury...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Timothy Cain
  • Matthew Guy
  • Ronnie Schreiber
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth