Here’s When You Buy Gas

Here’s When You Buy Gas
Actual pic of my gas tank from this morning Image: Lawrence Hodge

My car has a big gas tank. At 72 litres, a full tank will get me anywhere from 820 kilometres to 845 kilometres of range. I used to let it almost completely empty, down to like 40 km. But I’ve gotten in the habit of going to fill back up when it get to either a half or little less than half.

Last week, what turned out to be overblown fears about gas shortages had people panic buying gas, fighting at the pump and taking a relaxed attitude toward fuel storage guidelines.

We asked readers when they filled up their tanks. These were their answers.

Near Costco

Whenever I’m near a Costco. I bought a membership *just* so I don’t pay full price for premium gas. Paid for itself 3 months in. If I’m ever in a pinch and the light comes on, I’ll put in a few gallons from a normal station so I can make it to the next Costco that’s along my travels (with a little bit of insurance).

Is that crossing the line from frugality to cheapskate? I don’t know, but as my father and his brothers (whom all own their own business) taught me…

There are only two types of Greeks: Cheap ones, and dead ones.

Suggested by: GMT800 Tahoe Guy

Close To The Hash Mark

Image: IFCAR

When I had my E30 I’d try to get as close to the hash mark over the “R” as possible because I knew I had about 60 mi of range once the needle hit the “R”. My Lexus has a digital range estimator so I usually aim for around 10 mi.

Suggested by: Jonathan Russell

Never Run Out Of Gas In North Dakota

Image: Rolf Blauert

My wife is from North Dakota. Before I was driving her car when we first started dating, she did not know her car had low fuel light because she always filled at 1/2 tank because before cell phones and better cars, running out of gas in the winter in North Dakota could be a death sentence.

I fill between the 1/4 tank and the low fuel warning.

Suggested by: 4jim

A Quarter Tank

By the time it hits a quarter tank, it’s time to find a gas station. Having a 2 year old means anything can happen at basically anytime. The last thing I want is to be stuck in a bad situation needing to get somewhere with my gas light on.

Suggested by: John Glenn Rhodes Jr.

Half A Tank Because Of Mistrust Of British Guages

Usually at about half a tank, sometimes between half a tank and a quarter of a tank. In other cars I’ll push it farther, but I don’t trust an old British fuel gauge at all, so I err on the side of caution now.

Suggested by: Andrew Fails

When Gas Prices Increase

I fill up more often when prices are increasing. Like now. Hold out for dropping prices in fall. If on a road trip or whatever around 1/4.

Suggested by: Mike Pudelwitts (Facebook)

Never Under A Quarter

I’m one of those “prepared for anything” kind of people, so I don’t like my tank being under a quarter. That gives me about 201 km of range. God forbid I need to deal with an emergency in my life, but if I’m in that situation… I don’t want to be thinking about getting gas. (I’m also one of those people who keeps two gallon jugs of water and a “bug out” bag in the back of my car, just in case things get super weird.)

Suggested by: Shane Morris

1/2 A Tank

Winter in Alaska never let it get below 1/2 a tank. You’re only one avalanche, rock slide, white out from having a long cold wait on your hand.

Suggested by: Eric Teixmen (Facebook)

Before Its Too Low

Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, Getty Images

Before I need to. I don’t know if this is still a thing on modern cars but I was told driving around with an empty tank can burn out the fuel pump because the gas itself is used as a coolant.

Suggested by: LivingLaVidadidas

Depends On The Car

Image: Toyota

Depends on the car and condition:

Family Hybrid – Daily around town/errands I’ll wait till the fuel warning comes on. I get an additional 50+ miles once the first warning comes on so it’s never a rush. BUT if we are doing an interstate trip to visit friends/family I’ll fill up at the last 1/4 of the tank. Made the mistake of trying the light thing in Upstate NY at 3am and hit 0 range to go with the nearest gas station 16 km away. I’ve never been so careful to keep the car in EV mode my entire life.

The Rip-off From Hell 240SX – I fill up when the last 1/4 tank is left. I don’t trust the sludge in the tank and I’m not dropping it for a cleaning any time soon.

1995 Buell S2 Motorcycle – I fill up when the engine starts to lose power and lags. That’s when I have to switch the fuel selector from ON to RESERVE. The bike has a speedo, a tach, and bulbs for turn signal on and high beams on. That it. It’s kinda crude.

Suggested by: Umoja

Follow The Owners Manual

Image: Mazda

The owner’s manual (yes, I read the whole thing) for my 2014 Mazda 3 Sport said to fill up once the display shows 1/4 tank left. That’s what I did for a few years until my wife and I bought our first house and my commute became a LOT longer. I was having to fill up after 5 days of commuting while only driving ~380km (236 miles).

Suggested by: jimjr07