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How Many Gallons Are Left In A Gas Tank When The Fuel Light Comes On?

My car is a 2011 Toyota Camry LE 2.5L 4 Cylinder With An 18 Gallon Tank

Fill it up and see: 18 - gallons to fill = gallons in the tank when the light comes on.


Most cars set the fuel light to come on when there is about one and a half gallons left. That amount varies. In some cars it is one gallon and on others it is two. In any event, as soon as you see the light you should be looking for a gas station.





I can’t remember the last time I let my fuel get low enough to turn on the Low Fuel Light. I never let the gauge show less then 1/4 full.

@ArgosNoble What if for some reason someone had the tank replaced on your car and it was only 16 gallons you could run out of fuel in front of a train.

Also what if the light fails and you just keep driving and it never comes on ?

There you go again , being logical and using math :wink:


@texases Ah!!! Brilliant!! So simple.

Mine’s supposed to come on at 3 gallons left. It reads differently by angle. I used to live in the mountains. When it was low, it would come on sooner when pointed steeply down. On roads that went up and down it would go on and off. My gas gauge reads low: it never reaches F, is about ¾ full when the gauge reads half, nearly ¼ full when near E (it slows down as it gets lower, never gets to E). That the fuel light seems to be correct tells me I don’t need to change the sender gauge, which is nice to know.

Th gauge in my 2012 Camry comes on when I have about 5 gallons left in my 17 gallon tank.knowing that and since I get 33-35 mpg on the road I should be able to go 150+ mils more but I always chicken out.

The most I have been able to put in the tank was 14.7 gal from my house near Buffalo to St. Ignace MI in the upper peninsula.

The correct answer is, “Not enough gas to get you wherever you need to be that morning”. :slightly_smiling_face:


How Many Gallons Are Left In A Gas Tank When The Fuel Light Comes On?

Is it relevant to know the remaining gallons when the light comes on? Knowing the answer tells you nothing about how far you will be able to drive before running out of gas.

To me, the more important question is: “How far will I be able to drive once the light comes on?”

If you answer only the former, you can’t divide your average MPG by the remaining gallons to know how far you can drive. That’s because your fuel tank pickup isn’t going to draw your tank dry.

The only true way to find out how far you can drive once your fuel light comes on is to keep driving until your engine stops from no fuel. It’s not a recommended practice, however, because running out of gas can reduce the life of your car’s fuel pump.

That’s like asking how much air is in a balloon when I blow it up. Impossible to tell.

Use Archemedes’ method. Dunk the inflated baloon into water and measure the volume increase as the water rises.


It is for me. When I commuted over 100 miles a day for work (both ways included), I would get gas every four days. If I got gas at half full, I would have stopped every other day, and that was a waste of time IMO. I’ve never had a fuel pump problem. My commute is half that now, and I still wait until between light on and an eighth of a tank before getting gas. I can always find a gas station within a few miles of wherever I am if I really need gas.

Been my experience that there’s roughly 2 gallons left when the low fuel light comes on. However, that can vary based on the sender, resistance in electrical connections, and so on.

I found out a few years ago that when the low fuel light came on in my Sonoma I had about 8 miles left and that was stretching it. Last year the fuel pump died and I replaced the pump module with an OEM unit which means the new sender also.
Now when the low fuel light comes on there’s roughly 5 gallons still in the tank.

We’re doing this over the internet…We don’t know the size of the balloon.


Low fuel light is on? Keep driving till motor stalls. Add fuel till light goes off. I did it on my 66 stang. Was curious how low needle would go till motor stalled.


What if I told you you don’t need to wait for the fuel light to come on to fill the tank? Would that also solve your problem?


If a train leaves Chicago doing 40 MPH when will it…

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The best part about this method is that it answers the important question of:

“How far can I drive once the low fuel light comes on?”

which is independent of how many gallons are left in the tank when the light comes on.