Running on empty: Good or Bad?

Because fuel is so expensive, motorists are trying to stretch their tanks as far as they can, making sure they use every drop of petrol. For some people stopping for petrol is a mission, and most motorists wait till their car uses the very last drop before filling up. There are benefits to not filling up often, but is it worth the gamble to drive with your fuel light on and how do you know that your reserve tank will pull you through?


A lot of people say that stopping to fill up takes too much time out of their daily commute, and try to avoid it all costs, prolonging it every day until it it’s a last resort. Another problem we have in South Africa is the amount of gas station robberies that take place, where people are being held at gun point, and motorists no longer feel safe stopping to fill up. Whether it’s at night or during the day people feel unsafe and try to make the stop as quick as possible.

empty fuel tank

Yes, driving with a full tank does mean that your car is heavier and that your engine has to work harder, but driving while your car is running on empty can damage both your fuel filter and your pump as you start to pick up unwanted debris from the bottom of your tank. If your fuel pump runs dry it could end up costing you. If you are driving low on fuel, try and be light with the pedal and don’t accelerate quickly or drive fast, driving a lower speeds can prolong your fuel.


By being cheap and not wanting to fill up could put you and your passengers at risk as you might experience an unexpected (or expected) breakdown in the middle of a busy highway or intersection.

If you see your fuel light is on, rather use it as a sign to fill up, than as a warning. AAA recommends that motorist’s at least have a quarter tank of petrol at all times. If you are running low on fuel, don’t play chicken with the fuel gauge, rather take the time to fill up, so that you know you have enough fuel to drive about.

If you’re looking for a fuel efficient vehicle, then visit for good deals on cars in your area.


Struan Langlands

Digital Marketing Channel Co-ordinator @ Junk Mail Publishing. My family, work, cars and sport are the 4 things that I am most passionate about and motivate me. I am a full blooded Petrol Head and always ready for a sport debate. "The day you think there is no improvements to be made is a sad one for any player." ~Lionel Messi

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