How empty beforefill?

When my commute was over 100 miles both ways I used to run it near empty. Getting gas every four days instead of three days was worth it. I never had problems and sold that car at 187,000 miles. My wife does the same and has with her last two or three cars and never had problems.

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Pretty much all modern cars (last 30 years) have the fuel pump in the gas tank. The pump relies on the fuel for lubrication and cooling. Running your tank down to the “fumes” will damage your pump and then you get to spend big bucks for a new pump. So the unofficial rule of filling at a 1/4 tank makes sense to me.


Posting from Quora as a source is worse than using Reddit.


Gas is expensive.

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I wish I could like this multiple times.
Or a couple of people right here!!


When I know I have a hefty discount at the pump, I’ll wait for as long as possible, typically until the DTE readout is under 5 miles to empty (sometimes 0). Yesterday was such an occasion. I filled up the Mustang, and a friend’s car for $3.00.


Usually around 1/4 tank, low fuel warning at the lowest. At whichever station is handy which is either the Shell or Chevron .

I start looking for a gas station when my tank gets to about 1/2.

I also don’t understand people who run their tanks down to nearly empty. You’re not in any way “saving” money; you’re just taking the financial “hit” to fill the tank all at once. Also, if you run out of gas, tow trucks can be expensive.

When my oldest started driving, we gave her a gas credit card. I told her, the only rule is don’t run out of gas. If I have to bring you gas and/or call a tow truck, then you’re in trouble. She received the message loud and clear. :smile:


Didn’t we talk about this before? I never let my cars get below 1/2 tank. It’s just a simple matter of preparedness. You folks never got stuck in traffic for a couple hours? Never had a storm come through that knocked power out or found yourself having to evacuate? Life goes on without a hitch until the unexpected happens.


About 25 years ago, I learned–the hard way–that one shouldn’t let the gas tank get too low. (I also learned to use the restroom before driving…)

The weather forecast on the day in question was something along the lines of possible snow flurries. However, just before the end of the work day, it was obvious that a LOT more than flurries were coming down. So, I raced outside to clear off my car, and begin my 25-30 minute drive home. However, that 25-30 minute drive turned into a 3.5 hour nightmare of many roads blocked by vehicles that were stuck in the snow.

I kept a close eye on my gas gauge, which started off at 1/4 and was getting dangerously low before I got home. Luckily, I didn’t run out of gas, but it was… close. And, because I had not used the restroom prior to starting that odyssey, my “other tank” was dangerously full. :grimacing:

It was not a pleasant evening, but it was definitely one that taught me a couple of lessons, including to always fill the tank as soon as possible after it hits the 1/2 mark.


Yes use the rest room before driving and before getting on an elevator. You never know.

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I learned the hard way to not allow my tank to go below half. I’m caregiver for my 95 year old mother who had a bad fall, couldn’t follow the ambulance to hospital because I had to stop for gas.
This resulted in her doctors being unable to obtain pertinent information about her medical history as well as were unable to perform necessary tests, until I got there.
You never know what will happen.
p.s. Mom’s fine now!


I usually fill up around 1/8 to 1/4 level. I’ve never run out of gas in my 50+ years of driving. My sister on the other hand ran out of gas on a routine basis. If she didn’t run out and strand herself, it was usually b/c she was driving on downhill slope and was able to coast to the gas station. One time she ran out, phoned me for help, when I got there she was driving her husband’s pickup, and didn’t realize it had two gas tanks, one of which was full … lol …

Some years ago I had a humorous gas tank nearly empty experience of my own. A new date was waiting for me to pick her up for an evening on the town. On the way there I forgot I was nearly out of gas, so had to stop and fill up, causing me to be 5-10 minutes late arriving at her house. I never heard the end of that one … lol … this story still did have an end, when I soon met someone more “date start time” forgiving.


Half to 3/4 empty tank my usual range.

My wife always keeps her car filled and her fuel pump died on 2 of her cars. Both gm. I do the opposite And never an issue

I have run tanks down 3 times over many years. Once because we were coming home from a friends very late (really…early in the morning) and no stations were open. Got home but then ran out of gas when I started it in the driveway.

The second time was a company car -a Corvette- driving into work where I didn’t need money nor an expense report for gas. I put 20.2 gallons into a 20 gal tank but it was still running!

3rd time was my own Corvette. Ran it to “reserve” which supposedly was 2 gallons. Ran it 18 miles on reserve and put 19 gallons in… pretty accurate!

But I was young and took the risk…

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When my dog would pick up something from the sidewalk during a walk-a-bout, something that looked like it would taste good (from a dog’s perspective), I tell him “If you eat that, you’re going to have an upset stomach!” His response, wag his tail, look at me with wide eyes as if saying “I’ll risk it! I’ll risk it!” … lol …

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About 11 at night our lights were on. A girl had trudged through the woods from the freeway knocking on our door, out of gas. I took mercy and got a can of gas to meet her back at he car. Guy sleeping in the back unconcerned. Hid my money, got her going, said she’d send the money about 10 years ago. Don’t run out of gas. The lights may not be on or I might be in a bad mood.

Ok I did run out of gas once with my Morris that got about two miles to the gallon. I was about a mile from home but It was midnight and my mother came looking for me. Even though I had graduated she still enforced her curfew. She was really mad but I had a spare can of gas in the trunk. I lived.


If you buy small amounts of fuel and you buy a better grade of gasoline this should be considered. You’re getting something like a quart, or possibly half a gallon, of the previously pumped gasoline if there is just one filler hose on the pump.

Also the grocery store fuel discounts cause people to try to have their tanks as empty as possible before filling up.