Gianetta Palmer is a writer, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in EverydayHealth.com, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Nov 5, 2020

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Driving your vehicle on empty might not be the ideal thing to do. 

However, at times, it may become a necessity in times of emergency.

It is important to know in advance how many miles your vehicle can cover on a nearly empty gas tank.

And it is nice to know that you have a few more miles to get to a gas station rather than letting your hairs turn gray.

Wondering if your vehicle will be stuck on the side of the road.

How many miles are left when a fuel light comes on in Chevy, Ford, Honda, Jeep, Toyota, and Nissan. Illustrated above is the lowest number of miles you have left in a vehicle makes when your fuel indicator light comes on. If you want to know the averages keep on reading below.

Your vehicle, irrespective of model and type, is different from others, so your job is to know your vehicle inside out before taking any risk.

Some of the factors you need to consider are; the type of car you drive, your car’s age, the size of your fuel tank, the level of traffic on the road you are traveling, and other factors.

If you need to find your make and model of vehicle quickly, there is a table of contents to the right. 

How far can you drive on empty by vehicle?

Below are common vehicle types in the United States with the amount of gas remaining with the approximate number of miles you could drive.

If you drive with very low fuel you could ruin your fuel pump. For some vehicles this is a costly replacement.

Chevrolet

Chevrolet vehicles average from 2 to 2.5 gallons remaining when the fuel light comes on.

The miles remaining is from 25 to 84 miles.

ModelGas RemainingMiles Remaining
Cruze2 Gallons55 - 84
EquinoxNot Available50
Impala2 Gallons44 - 62
Malibu2 Gallons50 - 72
SilveradoNot Available25
Traverse2.5 Gallons42 - 60
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Ford

Ford vehicles are pretty straight forward.

Each has approximately 1/16 of a tank left when the fuel light comes on.

And all vehicles have 35 to 75 miles remaining.

ModelGas RemainingMiles Remaining
Edge1/16 of a Tank35 - 75
Escape1/16 of a Tank35 - 75
Explorer1/16 of a Tank35 - 75
F-1501/16 of a Tank35 - 75
Focus1/16 of a Tank35 - 75
Fusion1/16 of a Tank35 - 75
Mustang1/16 of a Tank35 - 75
Transit1/16 of a Tank35 - 75
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GMC

GMC has very little data about remaining miles when your fuel tank is empty.

It would be safe to assume you have at least 25 miles left with most GMC vehicles.

ModelGas Remaining Miles Remaining
Sierra Denali4 Gallons64 - 90
TerrainNot Available50
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Honda

Honda vehicles range from 1.9 to 3.0 gallons remaining in the tank when on empty.

Depending on vehicle size, a Honda vehicle will have 45 to 70 miles before your vehicle needs more gas.

ModelGas RemainingMiles Remaining
Accord2.6 Gallons70 - 93
Civic1.9 Gallons59 - 80
CR-V2.3 Gallons62 - 78
Odyssey3 Gallons57 - 84
Pilot2.5 Gallons45 - 62
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Hyundai

Hyundai vehicles have very little data about remaining fuel in the tank when on empty. 

According to the data I’ve studied about Hyundai vehicles, it appears they can go approximately 25 miles before Hyundai car putters out.

ModelGas Remaining Miles Remaining
ElantraNot Available30
Sante FeNot Available40
SonataNot Available40
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Jeep

Jeep vehicles can go at least 45 miles before adding gas to the tank.

Depending on the model, each has 2 to 3 gallons of fuel remaining.

ModelGas Remaining Miles Remaining
Cherokee3 Gallons66 - 93
Grand Cherokee3 Gallons66 - 90
Patriot 2 Gallons46 - 60
Wrangler2.8 Gallons47 - 58
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Kia

Kia vehicles are pretty much in the same boat as Hyundai.

It would be safe to assume you have approximately 25 miles remaining in a Kia before needing a fuel-up.

ModelGas Remaining Miles Remaining
OptimaNot Available30
SorentoNot Available40
SoulNot Available30
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Mazda

Mazda vehicles aren’t as popular as they once were but have a solid 2.3 to 2.6 gallons in the tank when your fuel light comes on.

And 67 to 90 miles are left before a Mazda is completely dry.

ModelGas Remaining Miles Remaining
32.3 Gallons69 - 94
CX-52.6 Gallons67 - 91
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Nissan

Nissan vehicles last the longest when your fuel light comes on.

Depending on the model, each has 2 to 3 gallons leftover in the tank.

Plus, it should be able to go 60 miles before hitting the gas station.

ModelGas RemainingMiles Remaining
Altima3.0 Gallons81 -114
Rogue3.0 Gallons78 - 99
Sentra2.0 Gallons60 - 80
Versa2.6 Gallons80 - 104
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Toyota

Toyota cars have approximately 1.6 to 4 gallons left in the tank.

Depending on the model, you should be able to go 50 miles before running out of gas.

ModelGas Remaining Miles Remaining
Camry2.6 Gallons65 - 91
Corolla2.0 Gallons60 - 84
Highlander2.9 Gallons58 - 72
Prius1.6 Gallons76 - 81
RAV-42.4 Gallons58 - 74
Sienna3.0 Gallons54 - 75
Tacoma3.0 Gallons63 - 75
Tundra4.0 Gallons60 - 72
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Ram, Subaru, & Volkswagen

A Dodge Ram has 3 gallons remaining and should be able to go 60 miles.

This is approximately the same for all other Dodge trucks.

Subura cars have 2.6 gallons remaining and can go 60 miles before they need a refuel.

A Volkswagen Jetta has 1.8 gallons left in the tank and should be able to go 57 miles.

MakeModelGas RemainingMiles Remaining
Ram15003.0 Gallons63 - 87
SubaruForester2.6 Gallons62 - 83
SubaruOutback2.6 Gallons65 - 85
VolkswagenJetta1.8 Gallons57 - 85
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You don’t want to make it a habit of running your vehicle on empty.

Your fuel pump uses the gas to lubricate it.

When you drive with supra-low fuel in the tank, it could decrease your fuel pump’s longevity. 

For some model vehicles, replacing the fuel pump can cost a few hundred dollars

The Negative Effects of Driving on Empty

Disappointment in a time of emergency:

There is a limit to which a vehicle running on empty can take you in a time of emergency.

Running out of gas at the odd hours or wrong places can be problematic. 

Vehicle Accident:

Running out of gas can lead to a fatal accident in the event your car stops abruptly on a freeway.

Other vehicles can also crash into your vehicle if it happens at night.

Failure to keep up with appointments:

You obviously won’t make appointments if your vehicle runs out of fuel.

Fuel Pump & Catalytic Converter

DamageCause
Damage to catalytic converterRunning out of gas can cause damage to your catalytic converter leading to additional expenses.
Fuel pump damageDebris in the fuel can damage your fuel pump when you drive your vehicle with low amount of fuel in your tank. The fuel in your tank lubricates the pump.
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Gas Indicator Light

The majority of modern vehicles come with a gas indicator light on the dash.

The distance to empty gauge gives an approximation of how many miles a vehicle can travel before running out of gas.

Relying on this approximation can be a dangerous practice since the calculation is based on the average miles.

It would be best if you took precautions here because your calculation may not be accurate.

5 Things To Do if You are Low on Fuel

Drive 35 – 45 MPH

Vehicles are most efficient at this speed, according to Cars.com.

Nix the Air Conditioning

Vehicles will use less fuel with the A/C off.

Kill Accessories

If you are using your stereo or phones are charging, turn them off.

Roll your Windows Up

Roll up your windows to conserve energy.

This will help if you have to travel long distances.

Keep Your Cool

Over 1 million drivers run out of gas each year.

If you are a little embarrassed, don’t worry about it.

Use your phone GPS and find the nearest gas station.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far can I drive when my fuel light comes on?

It is going to depend on the make a model of the vehicle.

Most modern vehicles should be able to go 25 miles before running out of gas completely.

How much reserve fuel does a car have?

It depends on the make and model of the vehicle.

Most vehicles are going to have at least 1.9 gallons left in the tank.

Modern cars have, on average, 2 to 3 gallons of reserve.

Is it bad to drive your car when on empty or the fuel light on?

You could ruin the fuel pump when you drive with the fuel light on.

The debris at the bottom of the tank could get sucked into the pump.

Also, the fuel pump needs fuel for lubrication.

When you drive with the fuel light on, the fuel pump isn’t completely covered by fuel and not lubricated.

Should you wait until my tank is empty to fill up?

No, you shouldn’t.

It is best to fill up when you have 1/4 of a tank or more of gas.

If you wait to fill up when your gas light comes on, you are possibly running the pump dry.

How much does it cost to replace a fuel pump?

It is going to depend on the make and model of the vehicle.

The average cost to replace a pump is $400 to $600.

If your vehicle has a pump access hatch in the trunk, it could cost less.

Sources

https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-far-can-you-drive-your-vehicle-on-empty