Running on Fumes

Running on Fumes

Contrary to popular belief, winters in California can get surprisingly cold. As John, Derek, and I experienced that Saturday morning at the Muir Woods restoration project, the rain plus cold was a real bitch. So last Thursday, as the crap weather continued into my morning commute, I noticed my gas gauge was down to three bars. Normally, my gas level doesn’t dip much below half (thanks to my OCD) but this time, I had let things slide. I opted to get into work early, so I procrastinated on filling up. After work, the rain never subsided… I thought about filling up before driving home, but I could hear John’s voice telling me “Three bars is plenty to get you home, especially at 40 mpg.” Maybe I did need to let the OCD rest. Again, I passed off on filling up.

Well serves me right for pushing it to the limit: I nearly shit my pants on the way home. Traffic was worse than usual, thanks to the rain. As the battery bars disappeared one by one, I dreaded the worst: Fuck. Stranded on the goddamn bridge without gas. The angry commuters would probably ram me off the bridge so they could get going! I was about to get screwed. I turned off everything: radio, heat. I don’t know if such things even rely on the gas, but at that point, I wasn’t chancing it. I finally made it across the bridge… just two more miles to go to the ARCO gas station. Then, there was a backup at the exit before mine. There I was, less than one exit away… my palms started sweating. The gas indicator light had been on for way longer than I had wanted AND the final bar was gone. Uh oh, I was running on empty. Running on fumes!! I started wiggin’ out big time. Never again would I ignore my OCD! I should have trusted my instinct. Surely, this day would be my downfall.

Eventually, I did make it to the gas station: the engine choked up it’s final breath just as I rolled into the lane. Whew! As soon as I got back in business with a full tank of gas, I called John. He laughed and called me a “Drama Queen.” Whatev man. I definitely couldn’t expect someone who lives 0.5 miles away from work to understand.

Several days later after the trauma died down, John located the fuel tank size in the manual. I always figured the tank was 10 or 11 based on my receipts. Last week when I filled up, I put in like 9.8 gallons or something. Yup, 0.2 gallons left– I really was cutting it close.

Well turns out Honda doesn’t trust its drivers. The car’s tank is like 13.5 gallons! So the gas gauge is based on on 10 gallons, but there’s 3.5 gallons in padding. 35% backup? Seems a tad extreme, but I suppose that’s good to know. And certainly, in my case, I shouldn’t be complaining. 🙂

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