When do you fill your car's fuel tank?

About when do you usually gas up the auto?

  1. I top it off every time I pass a gas station

  2. 3/4 tank

  3. 1/2 tank

  4. 1/4 tank

  5. When the needle’s in the red

  6. When the warning light comes on

  7. As low as possible

  8. I never fill it up, I get a few gallons as needed

  9. I don’t gas up my car

  10. I don’t have anything to gas up

I answered with “1/4 tank”, but my actual rule of thumb is "when the needle is no longer over the “1/4 tank” line.

Basically, as soon as I’m under 1/4 tank.

I do it like that too. 1/4 tank is another 100 miles easily. So I don’t have to rush, but once it’s under 1/4 tank I stop at the next convenient gas station.

I kind of play gas station roulette. If my tank is full-ish and gas prices are high, I might wait until I’m running on vapors in hopes that the prices will drop. If prices are low, I might top off if I’m at half a tank. But I’d definitely say that I don’t add gas unless I’m at half a tank or below. Usually well below.

For my car, three of those options are pretty similar–“in the red,” “warning light comes on,” and “as low as possible.” The first 2 happen almost simultaneously, and there’s probably about 50-60 miles left before you run out of gas. I chose “in the red” because I tend to ignore the warning light and only pay attention to the gauge.

In the red or really low, sometimes when the light comes on. Its not like there isn’t a gas station every couple of miles.

I’ve heard it’s bad for the fuel pump if you routinely drive empty. Any truth to that?

I got nothin’ (to gas up). Out of curiosity - did anyone ever run out of gas and get stranded? It just seems to me that even when the warning lights come on and the indicator says you’re out, there’s still quite a distance you can go, some built in safety according to which ‘0’ actually means, you know, a little bit more than 0. (I seem to recall a Top Gear episode in which they drove this car until it ran out of gas to see if it would go as far as the manufacturer claimed, and it drove for another 100 miles after it started saying that there was no gas left - it had Jeremy Clarkson saying that Audi (IIRC) had invented a car that drove on air). I suppose actually getting stranded might have more to do with the availability of open gas stations. Anyway, does anyone have any stories they might share?

Since I got my new wheels, I generally start thinking about it once it gets down to the 1/4 remaining mark, which means that I generally fill it up 0-2 days later. Part of that process involves checking a gas price website - if the website ever said ‘prices falling’, I’d probably wait until they levelled out if I could. You know, that hasn’t happened yet. :smiley:

I’ve run out of gas a couple times before I turned 20. It’s the hills that will mess you up. That last gallon or two of gas sloshes into a corner and the fuel pump can’t get it. You sputter twice and die.

Never run out again in 30 years of driving. Twice taught me a lesson.

Local driving I fill up at the 1/4 mark.
Trips - I fill up at half a tank. You never know how far the next station will be.

I hit up a gas station when the needle is between 1/4 and 1/2 a tank.

I drive a diesel, so if the needle is under 1/4 I’m sweating bullets and nothing is more important than finding a fuel station.

I’ve heard this as well. The idea is that the fuel pump on modern cars sits IN the gas tank and depends on the gasoline to keep it cool. So in warm weather, I fill up whenever it gets down to 1/4 tank. From November to March, though, I usually don’t let it get below 1/2 in case I get stuck in the snow.

Anyone know off the top of their heads if a 2001 Cavalier has the pump in the tank?

Somewhere between 1/4 and red.

I have about 2 gallons left when the light comes on, which is 40-50 miles for me. I live within 5 miles of 8 gas stations so it’s really no problem to wait.

One local chain (Get Go) is tied to a local supermarket chain (Giant Eagle) and you get $$ off gas when you spend at the grocery store. But you can only use the gas money all at once. Thus the more gas you need when you fill up, the more you ultimately save (the savings are gone once you use them). So if I went around only putting in 10 gallons at 50 cents off I’d be missing out on saving 50 cents off 4 more gallons if I’d waited until I needed 14 gallons of gas.

Other. I fill up based on time, not tank level.

I fill up my commuter car once a week. Lately, that’s been Wednesdays because that’s typically the cheapest day of the week. The tank is usually about half full.

I fill up the family car either every other week, or before a long trip. It gets a lot more variable use, so it can get filled up when it’s anywhere from 70% to 10% full.

1/4 tank in warmer weather and driving local.
1/2 tank in normal winter weather and driving local, or in any weather on a non-local trip .
Top off if predictions of a snowstorm are eminent, or if in driving around, I notice stations starting to jack up the price (in which case I find one that hasn’t yet responded to the price increase).

Only times I’ve ever run out of gas was in my 1979 Chevy Impala, which didn’t have a working fuel gauge. I believe in that car that the fuel pump wasn’t in/cooled by the gasoline, as I never had issues with it from running out. (Fuel filter, OTOH, was usually pretty unhappy with the sediment and dregs it encountered due to my running out…)

Depends on where I am:

Where I live, I know where the local gas stations are that I like to use, and I know they are never far away. Likewise, in certain other cities I where I go occasionally. In those places, I may let it go closer to empty. But if I’m traveling in areas I don’t know, I’ll start watching for a gas station of my liking about when it gets down to 1/2.

I have a strong preference for one particular brand because their prices are consistently lower than everyone else. Sometimes by just a penny or two, sometimes by as much as 0.25 (!) – I wish EVERYBODY would go to the cheapest station, even if it’s just a penny. That would force the gas companies into perpetual price wars. I know I can’t make everybody follow my utopian plan, but still, I do my part.

(I won’t name the company, but I’ll admit I quit giving them my business for a few weeks a while back, when they were busily polluting the Gulf.)

AND furthermore – my beat up old clunker has an unreliable gas gauge that seems to give semi-random readings, but only when the tank is over 1/2 full. Anyway, I reset the trip meter (the resettable odometer) at every fill-up and always keep a careful eye on that.

I’d heard that it was bad for the engine to let it get below a quarter full, but that was from advice mentioned by Carlton on an episode Fresh Prince of Bel Air, so I’m not sure how true it is. :slight_smile:

My jeep seems to perform better on a full tank, but I end up using more jaunting around. So a couple of months ago I would have been topping it off every Friday, now I’m seeing how far I can go on twenty dollars.

Not how far I can go, but how long I can last.

It costs around six dollars a gallon here.