Over half a million drivers ignore fuel warning light

An increasing number of UK drivers are risking running out of fuel – with over half a million ignoring the warning lights, and a further 267,000 simply not noticing it.

The shocking figures come from LV Road Rescue, amid claims that 827,000 motorists were rescued for running out of fuel last year.

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That is an increase of 50,000 compared to 2013 – a rise that can be put down to increasing fuel costs, says LV.

LV Road Rescue managing director, John O’Roarke, 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. 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.”

More than a half of drivers surveyed admitted to driving past petrol stations when they needed fuel in the hope of finding it cheaper elsewhere, while many overestimate how far they can travel once their warning light comes on.

How far can I drive once my fuel warning light comes on?

The distance you can drive once the fuel warning light depends on a number of factors such as how efficient your car is and how you drive.

However, you can get a rough indication from tankonempty.com. Here’s a handy table featuring the UK’s bestselling cars.

Ranking, in terms of popularityCar model Number of miles left in the tank after the petrol light comes on
1Ford Fiesta37 miles
2Vauxhall Corsa29 miles
3Ford Focus40 miles
4Volkswagen Golf42 miles
5Nissan QashqaiNot currently available
6Vauxhall Astra26 miles
7Volkswagen Polo39 miles
8Audi A342 miles
9Mercedes-Benz C-Class46 miles
10MINI Cooper45 miles