March 4, 2010

The 1/4 Tank Rule

My dad taught me that I should fill up my car with gasoline whenever it got to 1/4 tank. I imagine a lot of parents try to teach their kids this rule, as it's a pretty smart one. With 1/4 tank, you can travel pretty far, so if there is a sudden need to go somewhere, you've got enough gas to get you there without having to stop for gas.Well, most of the time you can get away with waiting a little bit after 1/4 tank. You can get around town, maybe even go to work a couple times, and still make it to the gas station on your way home and fill up the tank. But every so often, your procrastination will come back to bite you.

I just got bitten for the first time. I was running behind in making it to a dinner with friends, and I knew I was a little low on gas. But I figured I could make it to dinner and then fill up afterwards, because there was a gas station right by my friend's house. Susan (my car) gave a valiant effort and made it about 28 miles, but started to sputter about 2 miles from my destination. She went in and out of "car consciousness" and coasted pretty well, but finally conked out halfway down the freeway offramp.Making sure it was safe and there weren't any cars coming, I opened my door and started run-pushing to keep momentum going, while still keeping one hand on the steering wheel. I got all the way down the offramp (of course staying on the shoulder to avoid causing traffic problems and the potential for a crash) and was able to get a little bit farther until the uphill was too steep.

Leaving the car's emergency flashers on, I walked 2-3 mins up to a gas station and exchanged my drivers license for a small gas can, which I filled with a gallon of regular unleaded and took that back to put in my car. The gallon was enough to get the car started and drive up to the gas station. Upon returning the gas can, I got my license back and then filled my tank up all the way.

Though I'd let them know what happened so they weren't wondering if I was lost, my friends gave me a hard time about being late -- definitely deserved to be joked with -- and I was pretty embarrassed to have run out of gas for the first time in my life. This is a good reminder to all of you. Learn from my mistake. Be wise. Follow the 1/4 tank rule!


  1. the gage on my old audi did not work and i ran out of gas about once a month.......then what do you do??


  2. hahahaha good work guy smiley. this brought a smile to my face! at least now you know just how far you can push it before you end up pushing your car, yeah?