posted 4 years ago

Number Of Drivers That Run Out Of Fuel On The Rise

Number of vehicles that ran out of fuel rose in 2014 as motorists ignored warning lights and over estimated range.

Number Of UK Drivers That Ran Out Of Fuel In 2014

British motorists increasingly run out of fuel in 2014 having ignored a warning light or over estimated a vehicle's range, Liverpool Victoria claimed. The insurance specialist – that provides roadside assistance following a breakdown – said that 827,000 drivers were rescued last year compared to 777,000 during 2013 (+50,000). And it seems there were a couple of contributing factors. Firstly, 54% of the insurance company's survey participants said they have driven passed a petrol station when they required fuel in the hope of finding it cheaper. Secondly, 24% estimated a car can travel 40 miles once the low fuel light is lit

But the latter is not necessarily true. The insurance company claimed that about half of the nation's “most common” cars fall short of the 40 mile expectation. It said the Ford Fiesta, for example, covers 37 miles once its fuel light is on. Other big sellers include the: Vauxhall Corsa (29 miles), Ford Focus (40 miles), Volkswagen Golf (42 miles), Vauxhall Astra (26 miles), Volkswagen Polo (39 miles), Audi A3 (42 miles), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (46 miles) and the MINI Cooper (45 miles). Such figures are only a guide as a vehicle's range is influenced by driving style, the weather conditions, traffic and how much weight it is carrying.

Consequences Of Running Out Of Fuel

Running out of fuel could significantly damage a vehicle particularly if it has a diesel engine. The seals, pumps and injectors suffer if the engine only pulls air, for example. The repair could total thousands of pounds. A petrol engine tends to be more robust but still potentially problematic. Lack of fuel forces it to pull to much air which causes a blockage that – even when refuelled – prevents the car pumping fuel to its cylinders. The solution is to bleed the system which enables any excess air to escape. Furthermore – whether the car is a petrol or diesel – the final remnants of fuel might contain sediment that blocks its filters. 

The insurance company emphasised the potential consequences of running out of fuel. John O'Roarke, Managing Director of Liverpool Victoria Road Rescue, 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.” Mr O'Roarke concluded: “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."