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Four Reasons Running Out of Gas Hurts

Posted By Jim On 05/05/2011 @ 7:14 am In Personal Finance | 30 Comments

Every time that a gallon of gasoline starts to approach or break the $4 a gallon mark, you see a deluge of news stories about people running out of gas [3]. They’re stories about people trying to “stretch their dollar” at the gas pump by fueling up less frequently, which is an absurd idea in the first place (running closer to empty doesn’t stretch anything except the time between fuel ups). I can understand why people do it, they don’t like paying the bill when they fuel up, but the reality is that running out of gas hurts more than paying at the pump.

You’re Going To Be Late

This one is the most obvious reason why running out of gas will hurt you. At best, you call a friend to bring you a tank of gas or you are within walking distance of a gas station. At worst, you call AAA or the police, which will take at least an hour. Either way, it’s going to cost you valuable time and be a very embarrassing situation. Worst of all, if you are simply unlucky and hit a patch of traffic you didn’t expect, you increase the likelihood you will run out of gas.

It’s Dangerous

When you run out of gas, your engine stops. There isn’t any fuel to move the pistons to move the cylinder(s), so your engine just quits. If you have power steering, you’ll lose that. Your brakes will feel heavier too, which increases braking distances. The only things you’ll likely have are those powered entirely on electrical power like your radio and lights, which will be of little consolation if you’re going 60+ MPH on the highway. That’s flat out dangerous – more dangerous than paying for gas.

It’s Bad For Your Engine

Over the years, your gas tank has accumulate a lot of crap at the bottom. When you run out of gas, you basically take all that crap and push it into your engine in an attempt to fire the pistons. It’s not good to let that sediment into the chamber and you may do your engine harm. Do this too often and you reduce the efficiency of your engine, which will cost you more than a fuel up.

You May Get Fined

You can get fined for running out of gas on a major road. Some municipalities have laws to prevent drivers from trying to get every last mile out of a tank of gas and will fine you if you run out of gas on a major road. This is to prevent the dangerous situations that inevitably develop when a driver discovers his car no longer drives. The fines aren’t as high as speeding tickets typically are but even a $50 fine is too much. Wouldn’t you rather put $50 into a tank of gas, rather than $50 into the coffers of your municipality’s Treasury?

I can understand wanting to get more miles but running your car on fumes isn’t the way to do it. Here are some more sensible gas saving tips [4].

(Photo: mbphotography [5])


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[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/running-gas-hurts.html

[3] people running out of gas: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/04/21/more-drivers-running-out-of-gas/

[4] gas saving tips: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/four-gas-saving-tips-youll-ignore-five-you-wont.html

[5] mbphotography: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbphotography/2155318928/sizes/l/

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