Does low fuel level cause this problem?

I have a 2010 Ford Escape Limited. This has only happened twice, but when the fuel level is low (fuel level light on and indicating 50 miles or less til empty), the gas pedal does not respond as well. One time I pressed the pedal, the car shudders and tries to go, another time my wife was at a stop light, then tried to press the gas pedal and the car didn’t go anywhere. She had to turn off the car, turn it back on, then it worked. Doesn’t seem to happen when the car is full of fuel, but like I said, it’s only happened twice. Any ideas?

I agree with wesw below that it could be air sucked ino the fuel line when gas level gets very low.

But if it happens with more gas in the tank it could be a defective electronic throttle body, which is a known problem with the 2010 Escape. Your car should be covered by the Customer Service Program mentioned below. Call your dealer, tell them you’ve had the symptoms of electronic throttle body failure and would like to have the (free) repairs described below.

“Ford developed a remedy procedure and issued a special Customer Satisfaction Program (CSP) 13N03 extending the ETB warranty coverage and instructing dealers to update the powertrain calibration to improve vehicle performance in the event that intermittent electrical connectivity of the throttle body motor contacts occurs. The program extends the coverage for up to 10 years of service or 150,000 miles from the warranty start date of the vehicle, all vehicles are eligible for the program through January 31, 2015 regardless of mileage.”

it sounds like its possible that your fuel pump picked up some air as the fuel sloshed around in its almost empty condition

What does the gauge say with 50 miles left? I never run my car with less than 1/8 of a tank. Gas lubricates the fuel pump. Running low on gas reduces the life of the fuel pump. I don’t think I would believe the 50 miles left and I would go by the gauge.

Why let obvious facts get in the way of chasing the erroneously indicated fuel level into oblivion?

It’s also possible that having been on ground that was not level contributed to the problem.
Remember that if the gage says low and the car is on unlevel ground, the level where the fuel pickup tube is pulling the gas from may be even lower than the gage suggests. On modern cars the fuel pump and the gage float are generally in one unit, so the level seen by the pump’s pickup tube should be close to that seen by the float, but hey, the possibility that it won’t be is reason enough to keep the tank above 1/4… I like to keep mine above 1/2.

Low fuel is something that may cause your car to run badly. Hills can make it worse. In the old days, carburetors had enough fuel in the float bowl to run the car until it leveled out and could pump more fuel into the float bowl.

In the 65 Fairlane I ran out of gas going uphill so I put it in neutral and did a reverse U-turn, started the engine and drove downhill and made it to a gas station. If it’s low enough it won’t go enough.

yes dodge, my 75 ford has a broken gas gauge. I sometimes run out of gas, I carry a can with me for these rare occasions.

I have learned not to pull over on the shoulder with my passenger side wheels too far below level tho, or 1 gallon won t be enough to be picked up and I have to get another gallon to get going.