Extremely Conservative Fuel Light - 2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST Long Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST: Extremely Conservative Fuel Light

March 8, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Mark filled up our 2013 Ford Focus ST when the light came on during his break-in trip and only got 10.2 gallons to go in. With a fuel tank that holds 12.5 gallons, that's a pretty conservative gauge. As I drove the Focus ST today, the light came on again.

I'm cautious and hate running out of gas, so I pulled over at the first gas station I could find. I went to fill up and noticed that the trip odometer only read 151 miles. Based on the mileage we've been getting in the Focus, something seemed fishy.

I filled up the tank and to my amazement, this is what I see:

2013 Ford Focus ST

Only 7.709 gallons! To have 4.8 gallons of fuel left (38.4 percent) and the car is telling me that the fuel is low. This is downright silly and, to put it in perspective, if we base the remaining mileage on our Average Lifetime MPG I'd still have over 100 miles to go.

Next time, I'll be sure to push it much further.

Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 7,780 miles


  • cobryson cobryson Posts:

    My Mustang's light comes on @ 50 miles to empty (MTE). The MTE calculation appears to be based on a windowed average MPG, so the light will come on with 3+ gallons left when I've been autocrossing recently, but < 2 when I've been on the highway. Was your recent mileage poor for any reason?

  • usa1fan_ usa1fan_ Posts:

    This is a common complaint with the new Escapes too. We supposedly have 15+ gallon tanks, but most have the low fuel indication appear somewhere after between 10 and 11 gallons have been spent.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    If the fuel tank officially hold 12.5 gallons how much does it hold if you fill the tank including the filler tube to the point that fuel becomes visible at the filler tube opening?

  • bassracerx bassracerx Posts:

    maybe the float is not correct or there is a tsb to have this reset? i would call the dealer.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    Is there no DTE readout?

  • flybigrc flybigrc Posts:

    That's odd? My Focus ST's low fuel light come on on may way home from work, I drove about 15 more miles and put in 10.625 gallons. I have been getting right at 27 MPG using 87 octane with about 80% highway with the cruise control set to 72 mph.

  • redgeminipa redgeminipa Posts:

    The light in my Outback usually pops on when there's between 4-5 gallons left. It's quite annoying.

  • wdrauch wdrauch Posts:

    I don't pay much attention to the low fuel light in my ST3 since I figure it's overly conservative. However, the "miles to empty" readout seems to be inconsistent. One time I stopped to fill up when it told me only around 10 miles left until empty, but the tank only took ~10.5 gal. Another time, when I let it go to 0 miles to empty it took slightly over 12 gal. It seems that the "miles to empty" is inconsistent, but I need to watch it more closely before complaining to the dealer.

  • wyattf wyattf Posts:

    The fuel light is definitely conservative, but yours (edmunds.com) seems excessively so. I usually get the light when I've used 9.5-10.5 gallons (I average 23.5-25mpg generally), which is still conservative, but that's a good thing for both me and the car. Fuel starvation might be a risk while hooning the ST around on a low tank, and I certainly don't want another rant from my wife for running out of fuel again. :/

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