I actually managed to run out of gas on my way to work this morning. That's the first time that's actually happened to me, although I recognized the symptoms from the time I had a fuel pump fail on my old car. The experience is understandably quite similar.
The reality of the situation was that I gambled...and lost. My car has a low fuel light with two levels of warning. It will sound a tone and light when fuel gets low and then sound a series of tones and flash when it gets really low. My experience has been that even after the second warning I've been able to drive several miles and still only put about 10.5 gallons in my supposedly 12.5 gallon tank. So I figured that I had a good 30+ miles that I could go once the second warning sounded.
Well, that second warning sounded on our way back from Atlanta last night as we were getting into the Fishers/Noblesville area. Jon was actually driving the car as we had switched drivers near Louisville. He asked if I wanted him to stop for gas, but I said I'd just do it in the morning on my way to work.
This morning I decided to push on to the gas station I usually go to at US31/SR32 rather than one closer to my house. I was coming south on US31 from SR38 when my car missed while accelerating. At that point I knew I had pushed it a bit too far. I backed off the gas and the car started to run rougher and rougher as it was starved for fuel. I pulled it out of gear and coasted for awhile and only got on the gas to maintain speed. Eventually, I could tell there wasn't much left and turned on the hazard lights and went to coast in the shoulder.
Coming up to the intersection of US31 and SR32, I put it back in gear and decided that I wouldn't have enough oomph to get me through the turn at the intersection and into the gas station on the other side, so I stopped just short of the intersection on the shoulder.
I got out of the car and ran across the street to the gas station...where they didn't have a gas can. So I had to run across six lanes of US31 to another gas station to pickup a gas can. It was only $3 for a one gallon can, so I was happy not to get raped in my time of need.
I ran back across the street, put gas in the tank, then ran back to the car and put the gas in the car. I started the car and it voiced its disapproval at me as it ran quite rough for about 30 seconds or so as the fuel system refilled/repressurized. Then it was the short trip across the street to fill the tank up the rest of the way. In the end, I only put about 11.5 gallons in the tank including the gallon I put in from the can. Perhaps the tank doesn't have quite the capacity I thought it did.
At any rate, note to self: "Maximum range for my car is approximately 300 miles per tank. Any attempts to go further may result in a repeat of this morning's fun."