How Long Does a Ford F150 Last on Empty?


how long does a ford f150 last on empty

Are you low on gas and there’s no gas station in sight? You might be wondering just how long your Ford 150 can last on the road when the fuel runs out. By knowing how long your truck will run when the gauge shows 0 miles to empty, you can be able to come up with a contingency.

How long does a Ford F150 last on empty? When the truck’s fuel gauge shows 0 miles to empty, the F150 can go on for a distance between 35 and 80 miles according to a chart in a blog post by Your Mechanic. At the stage when it shows E, the truck’s tank is down to a sixteenth of its capacity.

The distance to empty might not always be accurate and taking it as the gospel truth can cause you to run out of fuel before you cover the stated miles. It is also harmful to your truck if you persist and drive on when the needle is at empty.

How far can the F150 truck last on empty?

We have a wide range on how long you can drive on empty because the exact distance varies depending on how you drive and the prevailing traffic conditions. If you are cruising on the highway at a constant speed, you use less gas. This can make you cover a longer distance even when the gauge is showing empty.

On the other hand, if you are driving your track intermittently through traffic and stretches where you’re doing high speeds, you are more likely to run the tank dry quickly. This is because this kind of driving situation utilizes more fuel.

The distance you cover will also depend on the mechanical condition of your truck. If it has some engine problems, you might find that it is not as efficient as it needs to be. This will cause you to burn more gas while covering a shorter distance than you would otherwise cover if the truck was in mint condition.

When the gauge in your Ford F150 truck shows empty, you can drive on for about an average 50 miles before you have to pull up to the side of the road.

Checking on online forums frequented by F150 owners and drivers, we could see that a good number of them have gotten upwards of 40 miles or so when they continue to drive their trucks when the gauge reads empty.

What could happen if you drive on empty?

We have already determined that the Ford F150 can go a further 35 to 80 miles when the gauge is showing empty. Nevertheless, the fact that you are on empty will have you worried about when the gas will finally run out.

The dangers of driving on empty include:

  • Getting stranded in unpopulated areas
  • Causing or getting involved in accidents on the freeway
  • Damaging mechanical parts in your truck, especially in the engine

If your fuel does run out before you come across a gas station, you will not only be stuck on the road but also potentially fall into some dangerous situations.

You could run out of gas in the wild like in the long and winding stretches of highway in the desert or on the interstate.

In the first instance, you could become stranded for a long time, especially if the area you’re in doesn’t have reliable cell service. On the other hand, if you run of gas on the interstate, you can increase your chances of being involved in an accident due to the high speeds of the other road users.

Apart from endangering your personal safety, driving on empty can do some serious damage to your car. When you have a low amount of fuel in your tank, you run the risk of aspirating dirt and debris into your fuel pump.

In a normal setting, this debris settles at the bottom of the tank as the fuel pump takes off the clean fuel at the top. However, with a small amount of fuel sloshing around in the tank, the fuel pump will draw dirty fuel, causing some problems in the engine during combustion.

Driving on empty can also cause your truck’s catalytic converter to develop some problems. The role of the converter is to change the dangerous gaseous exhaust into safer tailpipe emissions. When working properly, the converter facilitates the conversion of hydrogen, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide into water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

If you’re driving on empty, you run the risk of damaging the converter, leading your truck to emit the more dangerous exhaust gases which are harmful to the environment.

So, while running on fumes might not harm your F150 truck the first time, it will do so in the long run the more you let the gauge rest on E when you’re cruising down the country road.

Is the distance to empty accurate?

Like many other cars and trucks, the dashboard instrument display of the Ford F150 has a gauge showing the amount of fuel remaining as well as the miles remaining till the tank is empty. However, even when the display shows that there are 0 miles left to empty, there is some fuel still in the tank.

Is this distance accurate? The answer depends on where you are driving and how you handle the truck. If the gauge shows that you have 22 miles till you run out of gas, you might find that the truck will come to a standstill before you even cover 20 miles.

This is because this distance is a rough estimation. The onboard computer determines this distance by taking an average of your prior driving pattern. If you haven’t been cruising at a constant speed, you will find that this average distance to empty will be more than what you cover before running out.

How can you increase your fuel efficiency?

If you see your gauge creeping towards empty, you might want to start looking for ways to increase your fuel efficiency (see more tips here) so that you can reach home or a gas station.

Here is how you can increase the truck’s fuel efficiency:

  • Reduce wind resistance by rolling up the windows
  • Turn off all electronics and accessories, including phone charging
  • Maintain a constant speed by driving with a light foot
  • 40mph is an ideal speed provided it is within the speed limit of where you are

Which Ford F150 models are more economical?

In the 2019 F150 models, Ford introduced a new diesel engine to offer more choices alongside the naturally aspirated and the EcoBoost twin-turbo petrol engines. The diesel engine is more efficient, utilizing less fuel to cover a longer distance.

The Lariat and Raptor models use EcoBoost technology in their engines. However, the former is more efficient because its engine has a smaller capacity but draws more energy out of the fuel.

The non-turbo XL and XLT petrol models are less efficient than the F150 Lariat but function more favorably than the Raptor and Platinum when it comes to fuel consumption.

So, all factors remaining constant, you are more likely to get more distance out of the Ford F150 Lariat and the diesel model if you happen to run out of fuel with no gas station in sight.

How much does it cost to fill up the tank in a 2018 Ford F150 truck?

If you have managed to avoid getting stranded on the side of the road, you most likely want to avoid a repeat of that situation. The logical thing to do, therefore, is to fill up your gas tank.

But how much does it cost to fill up the tank on a Ford F150 truck?

A full-size truck model, like the Platinum, has a 5.0-liter V8 engine that does a mileage of 19mpg. To feed this tank, Ford installed a 36-gallon tank.

The national average retail price within the last week of June 2019 was $2.662 per gallon of fuel. This means that to fill up an empty 36-gallon tank would cost about $95.8.

Final tip… always have spare fuel!

I recommend that all F150 owners buy a decent jerry can (here’s the best on Amazon) to guard against running out of fuel and getting struck somewhere. I’ve also written a guide which explain how you can fill your F150 up using a jerry can.

Josh Henderson

Hi I'm Josh and I'm a huge pickup enthusiast. I started this website in 2018 in order to share all my projects and custom mod tips that I've done with my own Ford F-150.

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