If you are running low on fuel and your tank is down to its last gallon, it’s important to understand exactly how far you can get before your car dies on you.
Most cars can drive anywhere from 20 to 35 miles on 1 gallon of gas, with the average city and highway combined being 31.7 miles for 2021+ sedans and wagons. However, fuel-efficient vehicles, such as hybrids, can drive anywhere from 48 to 71 miles on 1 gallon of gas.
The distance a vehicle can achieve on a single gallon of gas will be heavily influenced by its miles per gallon (mpg) rating, as well as the person driving the car.
How Many Miles Can You Drive on 1 Gallon of Gas?
It’s important to understand that there are many different factors that can affect the fuel economy of a vehicle and how many miles it can drive on 1 gallon of gas. Each vehicle has a different mpg rating, which can make offering a standardized answer for how many miles a car can drive on 1 gallon of gas next to impossible.
With that said, when you combine the average fuel economy of sedans and wagons, most vehicles made in 2021+ can drive 31.7 miles on a single gallon of gas. With that said, that does not imply that every vehicle on the road will have an mpg rating this high.
The 31.7 mpg average is only applicable to newer cars, and this figure represents a combined fuel economy for city and highway driving. Given that the majority of cars on the road are older vehicles, the average mpg rating is still likely around 25 miles per gallon.
Nowadays, hybrid and electric cars have flipped the script on fuel economy entirely, with some models offering an mpg rating that is as high as 48 to 71 miles per gallon.
- Newer sedans & wagons (2021+) – 31.7 miles per gallon
- Older sedans & wagons – 24.2 miles per gallon
- Hybrid cars – 48 to 71 miles per gallon
Which Cars Can Drive the Most on 1 Gallon of Gas?
Since the mid-1980s, one of the biggest selling points of cars has been their fuel economy. With gas prices constantly increasing, many consumers care about how much they pay at the pump more than ever, and for good reason.
Most consumers don’t want to spend a huge chunk of their paycheck on gas, which encouraged automakers to prioritize fuel economy when designing their vehicles. Over the years, the mpg rating of virtually all cars has improved dramatically.
This resulted in hybrid cars entering the scene. Hybrids rely on both traditional fuel, as well as electricity for power, significantly boosting their fuel economy. As hybrid vehicles become more advanced, their mpg rating continues to climb. These cars feature some of the best mpg ratings on the current auto market:
- Peugeot 208 1.5 Blue HDi – 71.4 miles per gallon
- Toyota Prius – 67 miles per gallon
- Suzuki Swift – 64 miles per gallon
- Toyota Corolla Touring Sports – 63.8 miles per gallon
- Hyundai IONIQ – 60 miles per gallon
How to Maximize Mileage on 1 Gallon of Gas
Running out of gas is never fun. And if you see that your fuel light is on, it means that you need to immediately pull into the nearest gas station to get filled up.
Unfortunately, gas stations are not always around when we need them the most. In this situation, it’s best to take precautions to conserve fuel as much as possible while driving, especially once you are down to the last gallon.
Although 1 gallon of gas won’t get you too far, there are ways that to maximize your mileage by driving smart. Implement the following strategies to maximize your gas mileage on 1 gallon of gas.
Drive 55 to 65 Miles Per Hour
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when you are running out of gas is to drive faster than you need to. All cars have a golden mile-per-hour zone that you should try to stay within if you want to make the most of your single gallon of gas.
In general, experts recommend that you drive between 55 and 65 miles per hour if you want to conserve fuel. This speed will ensure that your vehicle has the best fuel economy possible and that you get as far as you can before you run out of gas.
Keep RPMs Between 1,300 and 1,500
Next to your speed indicator, you will see the RPMs (revolutions per minute) of the engine. You may notice that when you accelerate sharply that the RPMs shoot up.
This is something that you want to avoid at all costs given that it wastes fuel. To ensure that you have the best fuel economy possible on 1 gallon of gas, keep your RPMs between 1,300 and 1,500.
Factors that Influence How Far You Can Drive on 1 Gallon of Gas
There are many factors that influence how far you can drive on 1 gallon of gas. As I’ve just covered, the speed of the vehicle and the RMPs of the engine will greatly impact how far you can get when you are low on fuel.
These are factors that you can control to maximize the fuel economy of your vehicle. However, there are certain conditions and circumstances that you cannot control, which will affect your car’s mpg rating.
Vehicle Type & Condition
The biggest factor that will influence your mpg rating and how far you can get on 1 gallon of gas is the type of vehicle you are driving.
Each vehicle type has different specs and performance capabilities, which reflect its fuel economy; limiting the car’s driving distance on 1 gallon of gas to the best mpg rating of that specific make and model.
In addition, the condition of your can can also effect its fuel economy. A poorly maintained vehicle with a problematic engine, transmission, or even just deflated tires, will effect how far it can drive on 1 gallon of gas.
Colder climates have proven to negatively affect the mpg rating of vehicles. On average, cars consume 15 to 24% more gas in colder climates, especially when temperatures are below freezing.
Cars have the best mpg rating when they are driven in temperatures that are 70F or higher.
When car manufacturers advertise an mpg rating to consumers, they are usually doing so with a standard payload. This implies that the amount of weight you are carrying in your vehicle will affect how far it can drive on 1 gallon of gas.
If you have overloaded your vehicle with cargo, and the payload is greater than the amount that was tested, this will lower the mpg rating of the vehicle.
Key Takeaways to How Far You Can Drive on 1 Gallon of Gas
Most cars will drive anywhere from 20 to 35 miles on 1 gallon of gas, with the average city and highway being 31.7 miles for 2021+ sedans and wagons.
Fuel-efficient vehicles such as hybrids can drive anywhere from 48 to 71 miles on 1 gallon of gas.
You can maximize your mpg rating on one gallon of gas by driving between 55 and 65 miles per hour, and by keeping your car’s RPMs between 1,300 and 1,600.