GOOD

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As many seasoned drivers know, when the “low fuel” light comes on in your car, it’s more of a polite suggestion to get gas than a forceful command. We’ve all tested the limits of how far our cars can go with practically no fuel in the tank, but how far is too far?


According to one handy chart published by the auto repair service, YourMechanic, the number of miles you can go on a low tank of fuel depends entirely on the type of car you drive. While the chart doesn’t provide information for every model of car in existence, it does specify the low level fuel specifics for 50 models commonly driven in 2015. The Toyota Camry, for example, reserves about 2.6 gallons of gas after the light goes on, giving you between 65 to 91 miles to get gas. The Kia Optima, on the other hand, allows you about 30 miles to find a gas station thanks to a calculator that determines the number of miles left to an empty tank.

So, depending on your car, you can probably get away with driving an extra 30 to 90 miles after the low fuel warning light has turned on. Though that doesn’t necessarily mean you should risk it—especially if there’s a gas station nearby. Running completely out of fuel in the middle of a busy intersection is no fun (just ask someone who managed to do this with a Prius). The way you drive also influences how quickly your vehicle burns fuel, so getting away with stretching the limits one time may not pan out the next. And as Life Hacker points out, running on empty is an easy way to damage your car—that’s something nobody wants to risk.

Basically, if you’re in a tight spot, don’t panic. But if gas is merely an extra pit stop away, don’t let laziness get in the way of taking care of yourself and your car.

For the full details on a selection of modern cars, check out the chart below or head over to YourMechanic.

Image via YourMechanic