Buffer Zone in the gas tank

Recently here in the southeast(charlotte) we experinced a bit of a gas shortage. During the shortage my wife and I choose to leave our car at a gas station after the fuel warning light came on, rather than risk 20 or so more miles home. recently read somewhere about American cars having a larger Buffer Zone in the gas tank, the their European counterparts, so my question is how do I find out how big my buffer zone is, do I have a buffer zone, and why can’t the fuel gauge be accurate. thanks. I drive a 2007 Saturn Ion.

It varies from model and year. It is not really any different for US vs others. You car’s owner’s manual should tell you how much fuel reserve is standard for your car.

Note: I is wise to avoid allowing your fuel to get that low. It can be hard on many of the newer designed fuel systems and could burn out the fuel pump.

Maybe it is just me, but it seems that many people in the areas where fuel is in short supply are wasting a lot of fuel, just getting fuel.

When the light comes on, you’re IN the buffer zone. Under normal circumstances, you should never allow the fuel tank to go below 1/4 full. You were right to leave the vehicle where it was if the low fuel warning light came on.

There is a certain amount of leeway, I agree, because fuel gauges are not really very accurate. But do you want to gamble on which way your fuel gauge is biased? It could be plus, and it could be minus.

I wouldn’t risk it, personally. If the light comes on, assume you are very near the end of the vehicle’s useful fuel range, and if you can’t find gas, shut it down and park it.