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I ran out of gas for the first time in 15 years

So... funny story. I ran out of gas a couple days ago.

I was driving back from New Mexico and was stretching between fuel stops.

Here is the thing... A long time ago I looked up on Google how large my fuel tank in the Discovery is and was informed my gas tank was 26 gallons. I’ve believed this ever since. Additionally, every time I fill up when the needle is on or past “E” I put like... 21 to 22 gallons in. This made me assume that I had a 4ish gallon reserve.

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AKA I don’t REALLY need to worry when the needle is limp. In fact I have like 50-60 miles left!

Or so I thought.

I’d just taken an exit off the turnpike to get gas, needle having been on the stop for... a while. After stopping at the stop light I started to turn left....

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Then the engine stopped.

I haven’t felt that sick feeling of hitting the gas and nothing happening in a looooooong time, let alone mid-double-left turn.

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Shitting shit shit.

I am not ashamed to say I was instantly and excessively panicked at this point. THIS SORT OF THING DOESN’T HAPPEN TO ME! I AM ALWAYS SO CAREFUL! I somehow maintain the presence of mind to put the transmission into neutral and turn on my hazards. I tried stating the car, but it was having none of it.

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Even though I was traveling uphill, I guess the sheer amount of crap in my car gave me enough momentum to continue rolling...

and rolling...

and rolling...

until I came to a stop JUST outside the entrance to the gas station.

In hindsight if I’d put the transfer case in neutral I might have made it.

Maybe.

Illustration for article titled I ran out of gas for the first time in 15 years
Graphic: Google + Akio
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Graphic: Google + Akio

I hopped out, almost forgetting my wallet, and ran into the store. After looking for gas cans and not finding any, I asked and with a chuckle the attendant showed me where they were and warned me that they were very expensive. (They were.)

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I faked a laugh and told him it was the price I pay for managing to run out of gas just outside a gas station and pointed to my car.

He offered to push it.

Uhh... ok? Sure. Why not!?

So him, another guy from the station, and I walked out and pushed the car the last 100 feet into a stall.

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I only had a $20 in my wallet which I was going to happily offer them, but they’d walked away before I got the chance. (I know that sounds weird but the impression I got was they didn’t want to stick around for payment.)

While filling up I did a little research. Google now says the capacity is “24.6 gallons”. The owners manual says 25 gallons, and the workshop manual says 25.5 gallons.

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How much did I put in?

A grand total of 23.282 gallons.

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Photo: Akio
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So now we know the effective tank size is 23.2 gallons.

And I should believe my gas gauge.

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