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Driving on E: Why you shouldn't wait to fuel up your car

Posted at 7:40 AM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 14:49:01-04

As gas prices spike, a lot of us may be tempted to drive with that fuel warning light on as long as we can.

ABC15 caught up with multiple people at a Phoenix gas station who admitted budgets are tight and they sometimes push the limits to the last possible drop of gasoline.

“I think a lot of people are just waiting until maybe that next paycheck hits or something to really fill up the tank,” said Cruz Busetti, who was filling up while on a road trip through Phoenix with friends. “Just trying to keep as much money in their pocket as they can.”

Sundance Auto Service Center owner and president John Roeckner warns the risk can be dangerous to you, your vehicle, and others on the road, especially if you run out of gas in the middle of traffic.

“You’ll be a menace to traffic, obviously, and possibly get hurt by someone running into you,” Roeckner said.

Not to mention, running low on fuel can be a menace to your vehicle as well.

If it’s fuel-injected, Roeckner said the gas keeps your fuel pump cool. If there’s not enough fuel in the tank, that means a hotter fuel pump and a higher chance for failure.

Low levels, he said, also can lead to a clogged fuel filter.

“The fact that when you run it low on fuel, you tend to pick up any sediment that’s on the bottom of the tank a little easier.”

Roeckner recommended you always keep your fuel tank gauge at or above a quarter tank.

If you do make the gas gamble and lose, make sure you know what to do.

“I always recommend getting out of the flow of traffic, especially on the freeway,” Roeckner said. “That’s probably the worst place to break down.”

To get the best bang for your buck, Roeckner suggests keeping up with car maintenance.

Maintaining the correct tire pressure, getting regular tune-ups, and changing out the air filter can all help you keep the gas tank full a little longer.