2009 Pontiac G5 drops RPM and won't accelerate on highway when low on gas

Thank you jharris. I could not agree more.

@jhharris8567 what the hell does depending on computers have anything to do with this?

Duh, gas gauge says Empty but computer says I can go 50 miles, crap I have a problem, duh gps says turn left, I did and while driving up the railroad tracks a train hit me, crap I have a problem, someone needs help for sure, but it aint me limping along the highway because the computer said I could go 50 miles more while gas gauge was on empty.

I’ve never had a car that behaved like that. If the gas tank was 1/4 full or 1/8 full, or approaching nearly empty, all my cars have ran the same as if the gas tank is full. When it is within a nudge of completely empty, sure, but that’s expected. Cars do need some gas in the tank. But they don’t need more than a gallon or two to run just like they do with a full tank, at least that’s my experience. There’s something definitely wrong here, and as the OP posits, most likely the something that is wrong is related to the recent work done.

TSM is likely correct, some kind of fuel flow problem. If I had this symptom I’d put a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel rail and take the car for a drive, rig it so I could see it, to determine if the fuel pressure drops simultaneous with the symptom appearing.

This is a little off topic but with forest fires, floods, epic snow storms, tornadoes, earthquakes and power outages why would anyone let their vehicles get low enough on fuel they could only go 50 miles.

This is a little off topic but with forest fires, floods, epic snow storms, tornadoes, earthquakes and power outages why would anyone let their vehicles get low enough on fuel they could only go 50 miles.

Floods, Forest Fires, Tornado’s are extremely rare here in NH. Snow storms in July are even more rare. And several gas stations around me have gas driven generators so they’re always pumping.

But I rarely let my vehicle drop below 1/4 tank…but I’m not about to panic if it does.

How do you determine how many miles are left on the tank and how many gallons involved? Figuring roughly a couple of gallons left at that point and the tank design, it doesn’t take much to throw things off as a couple of gallons spread out over the area of the tank is not very deep.

I wonder if the replacement tank has a slight difference in depth? Even a 1/4" could be huge when down to the last couple of gallons as that would be the equivalent of raising the pump and pulling it away from the gasoline.

There’s also the possibility of the tank sender not reading correctly. Sometimes those senders can act stupid once removed even if the float arm is not bent. The gauge reading can be affected by disconnecting and reconnecting the pump module connector is there is any corrosion or scale involved on the pins.

When the fuel level drops extremely low the pump will pick up air when the fuel sloshes in the tank. The air will drastically reduce fuel pressure and dilute the fuel flow from the injectors.

I do find it somewhat unrealistic to continue to drive the car as the fuel level approaches the point where there are real problems occuring based on the false promise of XXX miles remaining from the car’s computer. Would there be some personal satisfaction in pointing to the fuel indicator and insisting there was enough fuel for XX miles while sitting on the shoulder of the freeway watching cars pass… Until the gauge is corrected allow for the discrepency.

Judging by the OPs description of the symptoms and the video I’m thinking he may not be running not of gas at all. I’m wondering if, when they replaced the tank, they may have messed up something in the EVAP system. There may be a partial vacuum in the tank that the fuel pump is having difficulty pulling against.

Also, when slowing down in local traffic performance returns to normal. That tells me he’s not running out of gas. I would try this - The next time this happens loosen the gas cap and try driving at highway speeds. If the symptoms don’t reoccur then it would almost have to be an EVAP system problem. Of course this would trigger a check engine light after a few driving cycles.

If the fuel tank was sealed tightly and the EVAP system wasn’t venting, it very well could be that the tank is accumulating a significant vacuum as fuel is pumped out. If that is the situation here just loosening the cap when the fuel reached the 1/2 full mark should vent the vacuum and the car would continue to run without a problem until the gauge read empty if the gauge is correct. The OP would be wise to check that out @MY2CENTS.

If OP in unsure whether the gas gauge is accurate or not, that’s easy enough to check. When the gauge reads 1/4, go to the gas station and fill the tank. If it takes about 3/4 of the tank’s capacity, then it is reading correctly.

For example if the stated capacity of the tank is 10 gallons, and if it takes 7.5 gallons to fill the tank when the gauge reads 1/4, then the gauge is accurate.

It might be that the replaced tank is just enough different from the original to cause gauge reading to be not as accurate.