How Far Can You Drive On An Empty Fuel Tank?

Seeing the fuel light turn on when driving is never a good feeling and while it’s better for your engine not to run it with very little fuel left, the truth is that most of us do it anyway.

Newer cars that actually offer an estimated fuel range help to relieve any anxiety about coming to an abrupt stop but typically, older cars simply have a fuel light and gauge to tell you that the end is near. However, if you were brave enough, just how far could you drive with the light on and the gauge firmly affixed to 0?

Car Throttle headed out on the motorway to find out with their Honda Accord and incredibly, were able to drive 99 miles (159 km) with the fuel gauge on 0 and 124 miles (199 km) from the moment the fuel light turned on.

Now, before you go out with your car and attempt to beat these figures, keep in mind that the accuracy of fuel lights and gauges varies greatly between vehicles. Also, be sure to have a jerrycan at the ready for when you do run out.


  • Bash

    That’s amazing, my charger can go about 40 miles.

    • LJ

      On a full tank.

      • Bash

        Very funny..

  • ediotsavant

    Some cars have around 3 gallons of fuel left when the fuel light lights up. Depending on fast you are going and traffic movement, it’s not surprising that the Accord went that distance. Also like the EPA says, your mileage may vary.

    • S3XY

      That has never been said before.


    • Bash

      True man, and as annoying as that guy who type is all caps.

  • Kagan

    I always drive at least 100km often more when the ligth turns on with E 400 AMG.

    With my Mondeo mk3 I did the same and a couple of times drove way belowe 0 as it was not empty when showing 0 km left.

    • Matt

      It’s not reccomended that you let your fuel tank run that low, as the fuel pump could start sucking up the sediment left at the bottom of the tank and cause damage to the pump/engine. On a newer car this is less of a problem, but I always try to fill up as soon as my ‘low fuel’ chime goes off.

      • Kagan

        Your probably rigth but I have only had new cars. I usually have 4 6 litres left to fill after I have driven 100km with my car. If I would fill up when the ligth goes in I would fill up 11 12 litres.

  • Orichinals

    This brings back a memory of Jeremy Clarkson in Top Gear, Season 4, Episode 4(2004), where he goes all the way with a Audi A8. He attempts to drive an Audi A8 with diesel engine, 800 miles to Edinburgh and back to London on one tank of gas.

  • Jay

    I think when cars show an empty fuel gauge there is actually 1 – 3 gallons left…

  • Romanovich

    He have to try same with electric cars, and then have a jerrycan.