Motorists keep running out of petrol... but why?

28 August 2015

petrol British motorists are breaking down in bigger numbers than before, thanks to their vehicles running out of fuel, according to new research. Now, if we were writing a 'How To' guide, this would be a short article where we'd say: 'Keep putting petrol in your car, you dimwit.'

Around 827,000 drivers ran out of fuel in 2014 compared to the 777,000 the year before... but why?

Well, this study shows that 536,000 motorists frequently ignore their vehicle's fuel warning light, as there's clearly nothing more fun than running a car on fumes, to see how much you can squeeze out of it. 267,000 don't ever notice that their warning light was even on.

24% of motorists reckoned that they could drive over 40 miles after the light had come on and 54% of drivers stated that they'd drive by a petrol station even though they needed a fill-up, in the hope of finding a cheaper petrol station somewhere else.

13% of drivers had broken down thanks to an empty tank, which according to some crude maths, makes for an estimated total of 4.9 million motorists.

John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= Road Rescue, who conducted the survey, said: "Having to buy expensive motorway fuel can be frustrating, but if it saves you the stress of running out of petrol and potentially causing damage to your engine then it's worth the cost. Roadside assistance is there to help should a motorist find themselves in a sticky situation - but being diligent with topping up soon after the light comes on will help to avoid the headache that a breakdown can bring."

Next week: we give advice on the reasons why you should always pull your trousers down before going for a poo


  • NotWhoYouThinkIAm
    I run till there are only fumes for a very good reason - silt. If you always fill up with 1/3rd-1/4th of a tank left, you get sediment build up, then the one time (30,000 miles later), you run nearly dry, all that crud gets sucked in and blocks the fuel filter. (I had this happen) I once drove on the motorway from a bit north of Stafford to Worcester with the empty light on; which to be fair WAS pushing it.
  • Pie M.
    If you serviced the car and changed the fuel filter once in a blue moon then you'd find that this problem magically disappeared. In other news, most people run out of fuel because they're too stupid to look at the gauge. Hardly surprising when most of them seem incapable of using other innovations fitted to modern vehicles such as indicators, mirrors etc.

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