How Much Gas Should You Keep in Your Car’s Tank?

There’s almost nothing worse than getting into your car and realizing that you don’t have enough gas to make it to your destination. The time that it takes to make a detour to the nearest gas station, in addition to the cost of the gas itself, can be quite a nuisance. So is there a specific amount of gas that you should keep in your car’s tank at all times?

It’s not necessary to keep your car’s tank completely filled at all times

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A gas station worker fills up a sedan | Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images

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While it can be a good idea to keep your car’s gas tank full so that you don’t need to worry about making any pesky trips to the pump, keeping it one-quarter full is sufficient. According to Family Handyman, keeping your car’s tank at least one-quarter full not only negates the need to dart to the gas station at the worst time possible, but it can also help prolong the life of your car’s engine.

Your car’s fuel pump is also at risk

A gas pump nozzle close up
In this photo illustration, a man refuels his car. | Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

Your car’s gas tank feeds the fuel through a fuel pump, which then pumps the fuel to the engine. As the fuel pump runs, it gets really hot. But when it’s submerged in fuel, the liquid cools it down. That means that if you’re running on less than a quarter tank of gas, there’s a possibility of the fuel pump overheating and failing over time.

To make matters worse, the fuel pump can start to pick up any sediments at the bottom of the tank if it’s run on empty for too long. Therefore, if you have at least a quarter tank of gas all the time, you may prolong the life of your fuel pump in addition to reducing the need to go to the gas station.

Here are some fuel-saving tips

Close up of a half-empty fuel gauge in an older-model-year vehicle; a pair of hands making an exasperated gesture are blurred in the forefront
Older car fuel gauge | Cristian Hernandez / AFP via Getty Images

If you want to prevent any unnecessary trips to the gas station and save fuel overall, then here are a few fuel-saving tips from State Farm:

  • Combine your trips: One of the best ways to save fuel is to combine your trips when possible. Making multiple trips throughout the day or week can take a toll on the amount of gas your car uses on average.
  • Keep up on your car’s routine maintenance: Making sure that your car’s routine maintenance is up to date will ensure that it’s getting the most miles per gallon.
  • Drive at moderate speeds: If you like to constantly speed around town, then your heavy right foot can equate to lower fuel economy. Drive slower to save gas.
  • Keep your car’s tires properly inflated: Under or over-inflated tires can equate to fewer miles per gallon. In that case, make sure that your tire are inflated to manufacturer-recommended specs at all times. Check the tire pressures at least once a month.

Following these recommendations can keep your car running in top shape and ensure that you won’t have to keep filling it up. Additionally, keeping your car’s gas tank at least one-quarter full will ensure that you won’t need to visit the gas station at the most inopportune times and will prolong the life of the car’s fuel pump. After all, replacing it can be quite expensive.

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