Tank on EmptyTank on Empty

Reported Data Seems Low

February 2, 2013 about Toyota Corolla

After looking at the data for my car I suspect most folks are not doing what I thought the intent of this site was, that is starting to count the miles when the low fuel light comes on and then running the car until it sputters out, while doing whatever you might chose to extend the range. I didnt get close to sputtering out yet just got a mileage on the upper end of the data set shown.

I have an O3 Corolla CE with a manual trans and approximately 210k miles on it. My commute is between Tracy and Fremont CA. My low fuel light came on about 3/4 of the way to work this morning. I immediately reset my trip meter and went into hypermiling mode. I did the usual tricks to save gas: shut down the engine at lights, when coasting downhill, or when coasting to a stop. I kept my foot light on the accelerater, kept all non-essentials turned off, followed big trucks, kept it at 55 mph or below, etc.. When I got back home in the evening I was at 58.5 miles and the gas needle was right in between the empty line and the next line above it. I refilled at that point anyway since I knew that when I go to start it tomorrow it will read below empty. The refill was 11.888 gallons. Since the car has a 14.7 gallon tank, I theoretically had at least another 100 miles in it, assuming the pump can pick up all of the gas in the tank.

I have to comment on the fact that the gas gauge drops a line or two overnight. Damn gas gauges!! Why dont they work right, anyway? Every car I have ever owned had an inaccurate gas gauge. Clearly I am not losing that much gas over night. Nor does the 2nd half of the tank actually cover fewer miles than the first half. Damn car makers need to get that fixed. Gas gauge pointing at half full in a 14.7g tank should mean 7.35 gallons in the tank, yet it does not seem to. What gives?

Vote on this story

Story replies

February 2, 2013 by Dude

Nor of course should a gauge ever read over full or under empty. Its nonsense. How can the tank hold more than full or keep running after it is empty? I am with you, car makers need to fix that.

September 9, 2013 by James Dean

I agree. The Corolla has much more than 40-50 miles left when the light turns on. As for gas light comment: I'm pretty sure it's a safety feature so that the driver has an extreme cushion from viewing Empty to actually Empty. This will give the driver plenty of time to fill-up without ever actually running out of gas. Newer cars do this more often than older ones. Also, (for Dude) a vehicle could hold more gas than the given tank size. For the Corolla with a 14.7 gallon tank, the car itself has fuel lines and other things that are filled along with the tank. So a 14.7g tank car could potentially use about a gallon more than the tank's capacity, so when a gauge is reading over "Full" it isn't lying. It has more than just the tank.

July 14, 2016 by Dean

I know that it's better to buy gas when it's cooler outside, like in the evening, because pumping gas when it's hot can cause your tank to fill with fumes along with gas, making your tank think it's fuller than it actually is. Might be a reason so the gauge dropping.

December 22, 2016 by Bison

My screen stays black and unresponsive for at least 30 minutes (the limit of my tests).Darren Yates Reply:March 14th, 2010 at 11:13 amThat’s really strange. Apart from a couple of initial emails, we’ve not heard anything about this from other readers since.Could you tell me the type of video graphics chip your notebook haeCaheers,D?rrsn.

Reply to this story