|You can go a long way on empty
a matter of fact, you can. About two gallons' worth, anyway.
While it's nice to know
that carmakers have thoughtfully built in this fudge room
for the forgetful, it's actually part of a much more ingenious
marketing strategy, according to Duchene.
"Gas gauges aren't linear,"
he notes. "They are set up so they actually stay on 'full'
for a long time, mosey on down to half, then plunge quickly
to about a quarter, then gradually make their way down to
zero, at which point you have about two gallons left.
"So you feel good
about your car because, when it's filled, it stays full for
ages, which means you're getting great mileage -- you think
-- and when you hit 'empty,' you feel lucky."
Martin advises against
running on empty, however.
"What happens is, you
can get a car to a point where it is starved for fuel and
then it takes a long time to re-pressurize," he says. "You
actually starve the injectors, you starve everything, and
there's a better chance of vapor lock. When the light goes
on, get gas, especially in the summertime."