When do you decide to fill up your gas tank?

If you run your car on fumes before filling up, you might want to re-think your driving habits.

A new report from AAA finds your vehicle’s fuel economy display, which tells you the number of miles you can drive before running out, might not be accurate.

The AAA research report, “Miles to Empty”, says warning system estimates vary significantly among vehicles.

Those estimates depend on individual driving habits like speed, acceleration and driving distance.

“Most drivers want to squeeze every drop of gas from their tank, especially when prices rise,” said Patti Artessa, AAA Northeast Regional Director of Public and Government Affairs. “But by over-relying on these in-car displays, you might be taking unnecessary risks.

Artessa also says filling up when your tank is nearing empty can tax your fuel pump and cause other mechanical problems

AAA tested several vehicles in simulated driving scenarios to determine the accuracy of fuel-economy systems and “Miles-to-Empty” warning systems.and here's what they found:

  •  Real-world fuel-economy displays showed low error margins compared to simulated tests. However, errors varied significantly from vehicle to vehicle, depending upon speed, acceleration, driving conditions, driving style and distance.
  • The accuracy of the “Miles-to-Empty” tests also varied among different driving scenarios, such as highway driving, city driving and idling.

Nearly 75% of drivers use their “Miles-to-Empty” display to tell them when they need to fill up, an action AAA doesn’t recommend.

Looks like some of us may have to rethink things.

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