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Range (Miles to Empty)?

 
Old 01-04-2019, 07:39 PM
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Range (Miles to Empty)?

What do you all think about the projected range provided by the MID? I filled up my TLX gas tank the other day after running it unusually low - I think it said like 5 miles to empty - and got to thinking about the accuracy of this calculation. The tank is 17.2 gal. I was able to put 15.5 gal in. That means a buffer of just over 1.5 gal or about 40 miles at 25mpg. I know manufacturers do this for a reason, whether conservatism, engine protection or simply to avoid customer irritation from running out of gas.

Our Odyssey does something similar, but I donít think it actually says any less than 20 miles. It just drops from 20 to 0 if you go that far. Still, I donít recall putting much more in than 18 or 19 gal in the Odyssey, which is a 21 gal tank. My old 2010 Prius was when I first noticed this practice. The fuel tank was 11.9 gal, but the range said 0 after using 9 gal or so. The reserve was over 2.5 gal, so I was totally safe regularly driving 80 miles AFTER it said 0 miles remained (common Prius owner practice)! The Prius owners manuals said such a large reserve was required to protect the hybrid system and avoid the risk of draining the battery if driving without gas. I get that. But when driving a standard ICE, isnít it more practical to know the actual range? As in, if MID says 0, this car is literally going to stall at any second? Is the 1.5 gal required to fill lines or hold vacuum or something?
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:51 PM
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A few comments in no particular order:
  • It used to be (and I believe it still is) standard practice to subtract two gallons from from the tank capacity and use that as the published capacity. Said another way, a tank with a listed capacity of 17.2 will most likely take over 19 gallons if you A) run it dry and B) take it to a station and fill it up until the pump clicks off.
  • Different Honda models have very wide swings in the DTE calculations. My recently donated 2001 V6 Accord (same take size as your TLX), which did not have a trip computer, would typically take upwards of 16.3 gallons if I ran it to the point where the needle on the gauge stopped moving just below "E". The needle on my 2006 TL stops moving well below "E" while the trip computer is still showing maybe 10 miles on the DTE display, however, when I fill the TL at 0 miles, it will only take about 14.4 gallons.
  • I've done a few informal surveys on the subject, and neither of the two above mentioned cars seems to behave any different than other cars of their generations.
  • While I've never run either of the above two cars out of fuel, I have inadvertently run a few other cars out and in every case, at least two gallons above the published capacity had gone into the tank before the pump would click off.
Not sure if this helps or not.
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Old 01-05-2019, 01:39 AM
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There is a Seinfeld episode involving Kramer and Puddy(isn't there always) that addresses some people's need to test the limit of how long one can run on "empty"
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Old 01-05-2019, 02:03 AM
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My Kia Optima won't make it to full without clicking off at 7/8 tank. I must top it off, and even then, I can only get it to 19 gallons in it's 18.5 gallon tank.

My RDX is a lot better, it always goes to full, and if topped off, can reach 19+ gallons on it's 18 gallon tank.

I've heard of 7G Accord owners putting as much as between 19-21 gallons in it's rated 17.1 gallon tank.


Keep in mind, once under 20 miles range, it will rapidly decline. When I first got my RDX, I had around 14 miles left on the range, then, it suddenly dropped to under 3 miles. I barely made it to the gas station, and despensed about 17 of fuel gallons in the tank. I thought I came to under 1/4 mile left on the range, however, I wasn't yet aware of the "buffer" gallon.
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Old 01-05-2019, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Midnight Mystery View Post
My Kia Optima won't make it to full without clicking off at 7/8 tank. I must top it off, and even then, I can only get it to 19 gallons in it's 18.5 gallon tank.
These days all cars have "head room" in the tank; the extra room is necessary for the proper operation of the EVAP system. Milking the tank like you do will dramatically shorten the life of the EVAP system, so bad idea to keep topping off like that.

Originally Posted by Midnight Mystery View Post
Keep in mind, once under 20 miles range, it will rapidly decline. When I first got my RDX, I had around 14 miles left on the range, then, it suddenly dropped to under 3 miles. I barely made it to the gas station, and despensed about 17 of fuel gallons in the tank. I thought I came to under 1/4 mile left on the range, however, I wasn't yet aware of the "buffer" gallon.
The DTE display typically drops quickly on most cars not because of a deliberate programming effort or because the car suddenly starts consuming fuel at a higher rate; it is simply a function of how the fuel gauge programming is designed to keep the fuel gauge from waving around wildly as the tank nears empty due to sloshing of a nearly empty tank. To prove this, find a nice straight flat road when you are nearing that magical 20 mile point, set the cruise control to say, 65, and then watch the DTE display, it should drop pretty consistently with expected fuel economy of the vehicle at that speed.
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