How Low Do You Let Your Gas Gauge Get?

Do you get antsy as soon as you drop below half a tank, or do you try to test the limits of your reserve?

byAndrew P. Collins| PUBLISHED Jun 17, 2022 8:00 AM
How Low Do You Let Your Gas Gauge Get?
Andrew P. Collins (Seinfeld, Adobe Stock assets)
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With diesel and gas prices breaking our hearts and wallets lately, The Drive staff got to talking about our refueling strategies this week. A few vocal editors here are all about waiting until their tanks are nearly empty and then doing a full fill-up. Outside of road tripping, I personally like to keep all my cars above half a tank. What's your cadence?

I try to keep some range in my cars at all times because I'm perenially just a tiny bit paranoid about the apocalypse starting any day now. Or, at least, an earthquake rendering fuel un-gettable for a period of time. That's probably not a valid concern for me now that I store most of my cars outside California, but old habits die hard.

If I'm on a road trip where I know I'll be going through a few full tanks, I'll typically just wait until I'm coming up on E and consistently stop with 50 miles or less of running range remaining.

Our Editor-in-Chief Kyle Cheromcha, Deputy Editor Kristen Lee, and Managing Editor Jerry Perez are all about the squeeze-every-inch-out-of-a-tank life, letting the low-fuel light be their impetus to go get gas.

Cosmo Kramer, of course, wanted us to be there with him "when everyone says 'Kramer and that other guy, oh, they went farther to the left of the slash than anyone ever dreamed!'"

I've actually run out of gas a handful of times — a phenomenon that's happening more lately according to some anecdotal reports — it's a real pain and it's not good for your car. But it does make the exact "cuh-luck cuh-luck cuh-luck" sound that running out of gas does in TV shows, which I found amusing when my RX-7 supported out in front of the Liberty Tree Mall in 2004. My dad, who had to get out of bed and come rescue me with a jerry can later that night, got less of a kick out of it.

So which type of gas-burner are you: Riding to Valhalla shiny and chrome, deep into the E on your gas gauge, playing it safe and topping off every chance you get, or somewhere more sane in between?