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I recently had a holiday in the countryside. I arrived late for my overnight stop with 13 miles of fuel showing on the gauge. I checked Google maps. The nearest petrol station was 13 miles away and wouldn’t open until the next morning. I spent the night worrying whether I would end up stuck on a country lane with no fuel, so I determined to find out just how much fuel was in an “empty” tank.

I waited till the tank was running low and loaded up with a couple of litres of petrol in a bottle and kept riding… I got down to zero miles on the gauge and just kept going. I drove like you would if you were running out of fuel. After 15 miles of running on zero I decided I had proved my point and would give up, and drove home. As I was coasting down the drive into my yard the fuel ran out!

So the answer is that there is enough fuel left at zero to drive for 15 miles. I realise this might be an approximation and I certainly wouldn’t rely on all those 15 miles if I was running low in future unless I had no choice, but is nice to know. I used to feel really anxious if the gauge went down to 10 miles, but now I will still find the earliest opportunity to fill up but I won’t let it ruin my ride!

I know someone might say that I shouldn’t have done this because of the gunk in the bottom of the tank. I’m not a mechanic, but that doesn’t seem logical because presumably the petrol is always drained from the bottom of the tank anyway during normal driving. Anyway, I decided to take a chance so as to get my question answered.
 

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I never trust fuel gauges when low level fuel warning lights comes on.

A number of years a go I was in my car and the low fuel light came on. No worries I thought, as according to the owners book I had 3 litres of petrol left and enough to do about 60 miles if i took it steady. Just under 2 miles later, I ran out of fuel and had to do the 'walk of shame' to a petrol station about 3 miles away. To add insult to injury I had to pay over the odds fro a 5 litre plastic fuel can too.
 
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