Dashboard warning lightsWe have all heard of the old age adage “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”. It’s a classic procrastinator’s forum. It kind of sounds silly when you put it down on paper, and a great example of this is when you’re running on fumes. When it comes to filling our gas tanks, many of us only do so when it’s absolutely necessary.

Now is the time to take advantage of the moment and get empowered with the facts. Here is a silly question; did you know getting stranded on the side of the road isn’t the only risk when you’re running on fumes? Now you will!

Here are some very interesting reasons why you should always top off your fuel tank when we all get back to normal.

Mechanical Issues

Gasoline is important not only to fuel your vehicle, but it also functions as a cooling system for the electric fuel pump. In today’s modern cars, this pump sits in the middle of the gas tank filled with cool gasoline. A near-empty tank can cause the fuel pump to suck in air and overheat. This overheating causes increased wear and premature fuel pump failure.

Every time you pass on filling up gas, gunk and debris from the bottom of the fuel tank could get caught in various components of the vehicle. This sediment in your tank can foul the fuel filter. If the fuel filter doesn’t catch the sediment, you run the risk of clogging your fuel injectors. This is less of an issue today with modern heavy-duty plastic fuel tanks. But in older vehicles with metal fuel tanks, rust particulate can be a serious danger. Either way, you get the idea to always fill up.

In cold climates, the condensation that builds up in your fuel tank when it’s low has a greater chance to get sucked into the fuel lines and freeze. This means your vehicle won’t start due to frozen water blocking the flow of fuel to the engine. The lines themselves may even become damaged by the expansion and contraction of the freezing water.

Fuel Mileage

Some will argue that because the gas tank is lighter when its low, a low tank will give the car more fuel efficiency. Not so much! A lighter load does require less gasoline, but the weight of a full fuel tank is not significant. A gallon of gasoline weighs roughly 6.3 lbs. (for reference milk almost weighs 9.0 lbs. per gallon), so even in most large vehicles the total weight of a full tank is less than 250 lbs. Your car may actually be less efficient when the tank is near-empty, as more air in the tank can increase fuel evaporation. Low tires and open windows will add drag to your vehicle that results in bad fuel economy, not to mention idling time. Every 2 minutes of idle time, your vehicle burns the same about of fuel as if you had driven 1 mile.


Make sure to understand that running out of fuel while driving in traffic is a super dangerous situation to be in, not to mention during extreme temperatures of summer or winter. Additionally, when an engine stalls brakes and power steering can be lost, so running out of fuel at highway speeds can be hazardous in itself. Besides, delaying fill up is never worth becoming stranded or putting yourself or family in danger. Also, it’s not a bad idea to keep a weather appropriate vehicle emergency kit in your car. Not everyone can be as lucky as Kramer on Seinfeld.

Time after Time

Yes, Yes… You’re busy and you just don’t have enough time! This is you flirting with the E at the bottom of the gauge! Not a good idea! Just for a moment, lets weigh the inconvenience of a five-minute fill-up when you have time after work or on the weekend versus when you have an appointment to get to or a job you’re already late for. Making frequent fill-ups a higher priority avoids last minute emergencies. And all this doesn’t even cover how late you’ll be if you actually run out of fuel.

It’s all About the Money

Skimping on fueling up doesn’t save money and could actually lead to expensive repairs and/or a costly tow bill. Commonly running the vehicle to empty could lead to fuel pump damage and a repair potentially costing hundreds or even thousands in parts and labor. Sure, Filling up can be painful when prices are high, but you have other options on saving money.

For starters, take a load off-seriously! Open your mobile storage unit-(aka your truck) and make sure you empty out any unnecessary items that you have stored. Do you have a third seat that is never used, have a pro remove it and store in it in your garage. That extra 125 lbs could save you up to 2% of fuel on every fill up. Keeping the vehicle at its normal weight and making sure your tires are properly inflated can save you up to 4% of your fuel economy.

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