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How Many Miles Does a Full Tank of Gas Last?

A long windy road.

Planning a road trip? Knowing how many miles a full tank of gas lasts can be the difference between getting to your destination and finding yourself low on fuel in the middle of nowhere.

How many miles your full tank lasts depends on various factors, like road conditions, driving style, tire health, traffic, outside temperature, and tank size.

A good rule of thumb is that a single tank of gas should last about 300 miles driving in the city and at least 400 miles on the highway.

While there isn't a definitive answer, we'll explain how driving conditions affect average mpg, how to calculate fuel consumption, and more below.

Table Of Contents [show]

    How far you can drive on a full tank of gas depends on a number of factors.
    How far you can drive on a full tank of gas depends on a number of factors.

    What Influences How Many Miles a Full Gas Tank Lasts?

    Your car's average miles per gallon will change depending on the weather, traffic conditions, vehicle health, and more.

    The main influencing factors are as follows:

    #1 Traffic

    The traffic significantly affects how many miles your full tank lasts.

    In fact, it's one of the primary factors influencing your fuel efficiency.

    If you're highway driving during non-peak hours, you likely won't experience much traffic, improving your gas mileage.

    However, city driving or heavy traffic conditions tend to come with lots of "stop and go" traffic, causing your car's engine to use more fuel and reducing your average mpg.

    Generally, you can expect your city mpg to be worse than your highway mpg.

    #2 Road Conditions

    Smooth, well-maintained roads will ensure your tank of gas lasts longer, improving your average mpg figure.

    Your vehicle's gas consumption increases if you're driving along roads full of potholes because your car has to work harder to overcome the obstacles.

    Similarly, roads slippery with ice or water reduce fuel efficiency, influencing how much fuel you use to navigate the conditions.

    #3 Tire Conditions

    New tires are great for fuel economy because they have near-perfect tread, are in great condition, and don't have any grip-hindering deformities.

    But older versions are more likely to have impacted tire conditions which result in heightened fuel consumption.

    For example, underinflated tires require more force to spin and move the vehicle forward.

    Thus, they use up more fuel while you drive.

    Fresh tires are crucial to getting your car's best possible fuel efficiency, regardless of the vehicle type.

    If you're about to have new tires fitted, expect your miles per gallon to improve during your next road trip.

    #4 Temperatures

    Interestingly, your average miles per gallon can vary depending on the temperature outside.

    Since your car requires fuel to use the engine, anything that relies on the engine technology to function uses gas to some degree.

    For instance, your vehicle's AC system and heater.

    Even though your heater uses the engine's warmth to heat the cabin, the air conditioner can use one-fifth of your full gas tank while running.

    Utilizing the defrost function, for example, engages the air conditioning unit, using more fuel.

    Therefore, the temperature outside can affect your car's fuel efficiency.

    #5 Oil

    Oil is a vital part of all gas-powered vehicle types.

    It keeps various components lubricated, making it essential for optimal engine performance.

    With that in mind, it's no surprise that oil quality and age can affect your average mpg.

    Low-quality or dirty oil forces most cars' engines to work harder, increasing fuel consumption and reducing how many miles your full tank of gas will take you.

    #6 Gas Tank Capacity

    Naturally, your gas tank size plays a massive role in answer to your "how many miles does a full tank of gas last" question.

    A car with a larger tank can travel further than a vehicle with a smaller tank.

    Why?

    Simply put, they can hold more gas.

    Even with the same fuel efficiency, smaller engines can only travel as far on one full tank as a car with a bigger tank size because they hold less fuel.

    If you don't want to stop at the gas station as often on a long trip, choose a car with a larger gas tank size.

    #7 Fuel Injectors and Air Filters

    They may be small, but they can significantly impact how far one full fuel tank takes you.

    Fuel injectors determine the amount and frequency that fuel flows into your engine.

    Keeping them clean is essential for optimal fuel economy.

    When they become dirty or break, your car's engine can't receive the fuel it needs.

    Plus, they could end up wasting fuel, which isn't going to help you save money on the ever-rising gas prices!

    Replacing the fuel injector when worn or damaged helps improve your miles per gallon and, thus, how far one tank of gas will last.

    Air filters are also integral to your car's performance.

    They ensure impurities found in the gas tank don't enter the engine.

    When the air filters are full, it hinders fuel flow, meaning your vehicle's engine won't receive the right amount of gas at the right time, causing it to expend more fuel.

    To ensure your full tank of gas takes you as far as possible, examine your fuel injectors and air filters for damage, cleanliness, and wear.

    How to Calculate How Many Miles Your Car Travels On a Full Gas Tank

    Knowing how far a single full tank of gas takes you is essential for planning long trips.

    But calculating how many miles your full tank of gas will last involves a few steps.

    So, it's much easier to explain with an example.

    In this case, we'll say our car holds 20 gallons of gas and has an mpg of 30 on the highway and 25 in the city.

    And we will be driving mainly on the highway (70%) and only partially (30%) in the city.

    Here's how we calculate the total miles:

    1. Multiply city mpg by time percentage — 25 x 0.30 = 7.5 miles per gallon
    2. Multiply highway miles per gallon by time percentage — 30 x 0.70 = 21 miles per gallon
    3. Add answers to get the average mpg — 7.5 + 21 = 28.5 mpg
    4. Multiply average mpg by tank capacity — 28.5 x 20 gallons = 570

    Therefore, this car would take 570 miles on a full tank when driving 70% on the highway and 30% in the city!

    To use the formula yourself, switch out the numbers to suit your trip and vehicle type.

    How to Increase Your Gas Mileage

    Whether you want to shrink your budget or avoid the rising gas prices as much as possible, understanding how to increase your fuel economy will save you much-needed cash (and the environment).

    1. Get Rid of Clutter

    While you should keep an emergency kit in your car, unnecessary clutter (think backpacks, books, sports equipment) weighs you down and reduces the distance one full tank of gas will take you.

    2. Stick to a Certain Speed

    Cars lose fuel efficiency at around 45 to 50 mph.

    So the faster you travel, the worse it becomes.

    Stick to the speed limit and use cruise control on the highway while avoiding sharp acceleration and braking to save gas.

    3. Reduce Time Spent Idling

    Idling emits 80% more pollution than when you're driving.

    Not to mention it uses more fuel than restarting your car!

    So the next time you're waiting for someone, switch your engine off to improve fuel economy.

    4. Check Tire Pressure

    Fuel consumption increases by 3% with underinflated tires.

    Check the vehicle's owner's manual to find the recommended tire pressure, and always ensure they're properly inflated before starting long journeys.

    5. Conduct Regular Maintenance

    Dirty components cause your engine to work hard, decreasing fuel economy.

    Always follow dealership-recommended maintenance to ensure one full tank of gas takes you as far as possible.

    Conclusion

    Remember that the distance one full gas tank takes you depends on your driving style, road conditions, tire health, traffic, oil quality, and outside temperatures. However, you can increase fuel efficiency by properly inflating your tires, reducing idling, decluttering, and conducting regular maintenance.

    FAQs

    How Far Can An Average Car Travel?

    A typical car travels between 200 and 400 miles on a full tank of gas.

    How Far Can An Average Car Travel On Empty?

    A typical car travels between 30 and 50 miles on a when the fuel gauge needle hits empty.

    However, your vehicle type may travel further, depending on driving habits, road conditions, weather, maintenance, and the car's make and model.

    Does Premium Gas Last Longer?

    Premium gas doesn't last longer than regular gas.

    The former has a higher octane level which prevents engine knock, particularly in high-performance vehicle types.

    Will Your Vehicle Run Better With a Full Tank of Gas?

    Many drivers believe that cars run more efficiently with a full tank of gas.

    But in reality, that isn't the case.

    How much gas is in the tank doesn't matter, except when the car starts and the engine is cool.

    A full tank of gas helps your run smoothly without as much effort.

    Although, the difference is negligible once the engine heats up.

    Can You Mix New Gas with Old Gas?

    You should never mix new and old gas in a car fuel tank.

    Instead, before introducing new fuel, bleed the current fuel using a fluid extractor pump.

    Afterward, refill your gas tank, and your car will run safely.