Have you ever run out of gas, only to be left on the side of the road? This has happened to me once while I was with my husband. It happened many years ago when we lived in Pennsylvania. He was driving and I told him that my car needed gas, but he wanted to make it to the next exit where gas was a bit cheaper. Where did we end up? Right smack between two exits on I-90 in Erie. Aside from being upset and thinking (not saying) "I told you so" (well, not til later...), I was probably most upset because I didn't feel safe being left on the side of the road with a young child in the back seat. Would I be more upset that no one stopped to help or thankful and relieved that no one stopped? In the end, he walked to the station he deemed closest, bought a jug and got a ride back from some kind soul.
Another time (same car), he ran out of gas on the New Jersey Turnpike. That was when he truly believed me that my car's gas gauge was a complete and utter liar and was not to be trusted. That oops cost him far more than he would have saved when you factored in the service call fee and the costly one gallon of gas they brought to get him to the next gas station.
When I drove that car, I kept to the 1/4 tank rule just to be on the safe side. Hubby? Not so much. Until that last time he got left on the side of the road in Jersey!
AAA recommends that you keep at least 1/4 tank full of gas in your vehicle. Apparently, calls to stranded motorists are up and the main reason is that they've run out of gas (likely trying to save those few precious pennies per gallon at a cheaper gas station). Other than safety issues, I didn't realize that running your car out of gas could cost you big time in repairs. According to AAA, running your car out of gas puts your car at risk for having its electric fuel pump overheat. The cost to repair that one part could be $500! Ouch! Certainly not worth the chance of running out of gas just to save a few pennies.
So please, take my advice (and AAA's): Keep at least 1/4 full at all times and more if you live near a big city and have the misfortune of getting stuck in traffic. One of the biggest problems that occurred last winter in DC when they had that huge snow storm was stranded cars. Sitting idle, they still used gas and so many motorists simply ran out of gas and had to abandon their cars. Don't get left on the side of the road. Being extra frugal is sometimes not worth the potential cost.
Resource: AAA Reminds Motorists of Hazards of Running Out of Gas