• May 7, 2008
In an episode of "Seinfeld," Kramer and a car salesman vowed to drive a Saab 900 "into the slash" just to see what would happen. Kramer said he had done it once but blacked out and woke up in a ditch with a full tank of gas. There's now a website that would have benefited from Kramer's experiment. Tank On Empty is collecting stories and experiences of how far each model of car can go past the slash before running out of fuel.

So let's say you drive a Dodge Intrepid. According to Tank On Empty, the most mileage after the low-fuel light has come on is claimed to be 99. The least is zero and the average is 36.4. Unfortunately, there are no distinctions made for any difference in engines, model years, options or geographical location. And, it turns out, 99 is the most miles users are allowed to enter and drivers are not required to push their cars until they're dry.

The site has a good idea trying to compile this kind of data. But it's fatally flawed methodology offers results that are, unfortunately, completely worthless.

Instead of a light, what we need is to go back to the system Volkswagen once used. Until 1962, VW Beetles didn't have a fuel gauge. Instead, when your car's tank ran empty and sputtered to a stop, you flipped a lever that activated a small fuel reserve that would hopefully give you time to find a place to refuel. Classic VW owners quickly learned how to calculate their remaining travel time.

[Source: tankonempty.com via gumball144.com]


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  • 53 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      2000 Maxima, 68L tank, 100-120km in th tank once the light is 'steadily' on. After that 10-20 KM.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My Olds would run out of gas at 1/4 tank. Just one week after I bought it, it ran out of gas and the fuel pump burned out.

      My Cadillac had a digital gauge and it would run out of gas with two dots on the gauge.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Gauges?...We don't need no steeenking gauges! Was just recalling my '51 MGTD with the wooden dipstick stored on clips behind the seatbacks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      '06 Mazda3 Sport GT

      The computer shows about 30kms remaining after the amber 'Low Fuel' light comes on.

      • 6 Years Ago
      08 TSX here,

      The Need gas warning comes up on the MID at 30 miles left. I have taken this up to 32 miles PAST THE ZERO.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Didn't Top Gear do this in a Audi A8?
      • 6 Years Ago
      My 1994 F-150 Lightning had dual tanks, when one ran dry, flip the switch fill it up while you run down the other one. My daily driver is a tC and the light comes on at 1/8 of a tank. Considering I have a 16+ gal tank and the light comes on at 12.5... That's one pessimistic light...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have never driven my Impreza long enough on a tank for the low fuel light...frankly, i wouldn't know if it had one or not :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      newer bmw 5 series give you a digital readout on the digital half of the gage of how many miles it calculates you have left once you are "on the slash" usually it says round 15ish or so. just thought id share.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I own a 2004 Mazda 3. I have always been one to need to know exactly how many MILES I can go on a tank of gas & not depend on the gas gauge. Just after I bought my car new, I tested it, and I can go more than 90 miles after my 'empty' light comes on. Incredible.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Couple years ago I borrowed my Mom's 06 Pontiac G6 while the Jeep was having issues and ran out of gas TWICE in a row. For some reason, the cars guage would show almost an eighth of a tank of gas, when it was apparently empty.

      She (my Mom) has never had that happen, but it happened to me twice....it was quite embarassing running out of gas once, much less twice in about two weeks. D'oh!

      • 6 Years Ago
      Long after 60s another car originated from Germany (former East Germany or DDR) possessed the fuel reserve switch similar to VW's. It was extremly simple engineering solution which really teached us when to stop and refuel. The word is for Trabant 600/601 manufactured until mid 80s. But Trabi was genius simplicity and one step ahead of Beatle. Can you imagine it was a car with fuel gage - a primitive stick with the same idea as oil stick in four stroke engines. The tank itself was easy to access - simply open the engine hood, get out the tank lid and you can measre. Unbelievable inconvenience for today motoring norms!
      Peter K.
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