When Do You Fill Up Your Gas Tank?

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The fuel-pumping panic has mostly come and gone now that the Colonial Pipeline’s operations have resumed, but there are still lingering questions about the fiasco. Since it’s early in the week, some of us holdouts are still getting by on our last fill-up. I’m anxious to refuel now, because I’m way past half-a-tank, which is around the point I like to pump most times.

This prompts the question: When do you refill your gas tank?

I would imagine it’s all over the place. Some of y’all might be perfectly reasonable drivers who don’t need to fill up until you’re hovering around the last quarter line. Some of you (ahem, me) might start to get a little anxious as soon as the needle slips below half-tank.


And some of you weirdos might not even care until your gas light comes on. That’s just wrong, y’all. OK, maybe not. I’m not one to judge people’s refueling schedules, but I know that I couldn’t live with that kind of constant adrenaline rush. No, thank you.

As soon as the needle in my car ticks under half, I start my best James Hetfield impression and start plotting my fill-up. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that this weekend with the lines and panic-buying going on.

I’ve been sitting at slightly under a quarter-tank since late last week and am now in that space between the last quarter line and the red section telling me I gotta hurry to a pump. As soon as that red section of the gauge lights up, I’m gonna hit that trip reset button and start counting every single mile.

It’s probably just residual fear from when my fuel pump stranded me at the post office a few years ago. Many of us have heard the old gear-head wisdom which says to not let your fuel pump operate on an empty tank, and in case you didn’t know, there is some truth to it. It may not apply as much in modern cars, but unless you’re in the middle of an actual fuel shortage, I don’t see a downside to refueling sooner rather than later.


Unless I’m on a road trip, of course. On a longer drive, I prefer to let the car get lighter as I run and don’t refuel probably until I’m just under a quarter tank.

But what about y’all? Are you a daredevil driver, rolling with your fuel light perpetually on, or do you feel the need to pump fuel much earlier than that? At what point on your fuel gauge or when do you fill up your gas tank?