Where Have You Run Out Of Gas?

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CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

I’ve never run out of gas. I’ve come close, but I’ve always made it to the pump in time. My sister though? She ran out of gas and in one of the worst places.


Trying to get here their before her flight, one of my sisters was driving the other to the airport on the highway when the low fuel light when on. Just short of the off-ramp that leads to the terminal, the car limped to a stop on the shoulder. With the help of a friend, the sister with the flight made it there just in time and with the help of a stranger and a siphon, the car was moving again not long after.

I was thankfully far away in the other hemisphere so I was spared from the sibling drama, at least till the next episode rolls around. At least they all made it to their destinations safely after those tense few minutes before the solution came into view. If a flight was missed, it could have been a mess and that would still have been a relatively simple stop on the side of the highway compared to other empty-tank tales.

So where have you run out of fuel? How did you get moving again? Tell us the story in the comments below!

Max Finkel is a Weekend Contributor at Jalopnik.


Dusty Ventures

Ohhh boy. Here we go.

My family has a funeral business in Western Mass. The hearse in the late ‘90s was an ‘89 Town Car reaching the end of its service life and with a few issues. Namely, the issue of the fuel gauge no longer working. My dad would approximate the fuel level by the mileage on the trip computer. For the most part it worked, there was a certain distance that was considered “safe” and once the trip approached that distance they’d refill it.

One day my dad gets a call to do a removal out by the coast. No one was available to help him, so he asked me to take the trip. I was still in middle school at the time, but would help out in a pinch. My dad checked the trip at the start, and saw we had plenty of gas to get past I-495 at the very least, so we set off without filling the tank, planning on using one of the eastern Mass service areas for fuel and food.

We were a few miles past the exit for Palmer when the engine started to sputter. The engine gave just enough warning for dad to get into the right lane and start picking a place to stop (there was a lucky break in the guardrail and a gravel pulloff area) when the car shut off completely. Dad knew what it was immediately, no gas. Cell phones weren’t common or cheap enough at the time for him to have one, so we had to wait for a trucker to call us in or a random police patrol to find us. After the better part of an hour a trooper finally arrived, asked what we needed, and radioed it in. He told us help would be along “shortly” and headed off. Shortly ended up being long enough for two more patrols to stop by and check on us before the tow truck finally arrived with a (small) gas can. The tow truck driver put a few gallons in the hearse, nervously glancing at the back window of the car the whole time, waiting for something to jump out at him. When his gas can was finally emptied he couldn’t get out there fast enough.

We got back on the road, now knowing we only had a few gallons in the tank and absolutely needed to stop ASAP. So imagine our reaction when we approached the next service area and saw “closed for renovations” signs. It was a nervous push from there to the next known gas station, but we did make it. Filled up the tank, phoned the family we should have reached two hours ago, explained what happened, and got back on the road. The rest of the trip was uneventful.

During our long wait my dad did figure out what went wrong. Mentally running back the mileage displayed on the trip he realized it lined up with the hearse being brought in for service earlier in the week. They’d reset the trip and, not realizing it was being used as the fuel gauge, never mentioned it. D’oh.