Magic Tank keeps your car going when the gas runs out


October 23, 2013

Magic Tank squeezes every last drop of gas out of your car's "empty" fuel tank (Photo: Shutterstock)

Magic Tank squeezes every last drop of gas out of your car's "empty" fuel tank (Photo: Shutterstock)

Keeping a jerry can of gasoline in your car may help if you run out of fuel, but it's also highly dangerous and is therefore illegal in most places. According to the Makers of Magic Tank Emergency Fuel, their product is the safe – and legal – alternative to packing a jug of gas.

When Magic Tank is poured from its container into a car's fuel tank, it will apparently allow the vehicle to continue traveling as far as it could using an equivalent amount of gasoline.

The liquid is derived from gas, but contains "no volatile butanes, pentane, hexanes or heptanes." To you and me, this means that it's officially designated as non-flammable. It will ignite if exposed to a spark or flame at a minimum temperature of 105ºF (40.5ºC), but that's far higher than the flash point of gas. It's also biodegradable, and reportedly won't harm the engine.

So, if the stuff is so much safer than gas, why not just run your car on it all the time? Well, because it works by displacing the residual gas that's still in the bottom of the tank – even when your car can't go any farther – pushing that gas up so it can be used by the engine.

Magic Tank is available via the link below, with prices starting at US$29.99 for a half-gallon (2-liter) bottle. For those of you who might remember Spare Fuel or Extra Fuel, it's the same formulation as those now-defunct products.

Source: Magic Tank

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

I don't understand why cars don't have a 'Reserve' switch just like all motorbikes used to have. Two outlets from the fuel tank. The 'normal' outlet is a bit above the bottom of the tank, and the 'reserve' outlet is right at the bottom. So when you 'run out of fuel', you press the 'reserve' switch and bingo, you have access to the bottom 5 or 10 litres.

T N Args

"it will apparently allow the vehicle to continue traveling as far as it could using an equivalent amount of gasoline."

This statement is entirely misleading. If you pour five gallons of this stuff into the tank and it displaces whatever gas remains in the tank, say 2 gallons, and it is not a fuel in and of itself then there is no way you could get equivilant distance out of equivilant amounts.


Getting the engine to run on "the bottom of the tank" fuel is generally a bad idea, with all the crap down there the filters takes a bad hit.


A simple solution to this would be to have an alarm signal in your car, to warn you that you are running low on fuel. I'm sure this actually happens already. Why would you want to pay all this money just to pour some unknown substance into your tank? I would imagine the outlet from your tank to the engine is positioned so that it does not suck up particles from the bottom of the tank. Another simple solution would be to carry a small can of petrol in your trunk (or boot, as we call it in England) I'm not sure if this is illegal, but what happens if you need to get some fuel for a lawnmower, for example?

David Clarke

Prestone "Rescue" was a product that did this 15 or 20 years ago. I think it was just really low octane petroleum product that was not considered dangerous enough to blow up your car. How is this different? Carrying a spare gasoline can in your car is not safe or legal. The 1956 VW van had no gauge, but it did have a reserve knob. As soon as the engine started to sputter, you pulled the knob and got a gallon or two extra fuel. It probably just lowered the inlet pipe an inch or two.

Billy Sharpstick

Come on... I drive since 1984 and have NEVER run out of fuel. Just need some care and planning. Most cars shows an alert much earlier than it become an emergency (you can drive about 60-70 miles more). It's the driver's fault to be so ignorant to don't look for a gas station.

Otherwise I don't think it's a good idea to use the last drops at the bottom of the tank. Usually it's full of small debris, dirt, etc. I think, even your car's injector nozzles could be clogged....


What happens when that stuff gets sloshed into a full tank and sucked into the engine? I can't imagine it would be beneficial. No wonder those two other products named that were similar are now defunct.

All cars today have an idiot light to warn operators of a low fuel level. If that isn't enough to motivate, then actually running out will be a good lesson.

John Coryat

I sold the most mechanically reliable car I have ever owned (after 8 years) because it had no air, was a 5 speed manuel, was under powered, and the fuel gauge was designed to register empty at one third full. With a 10 gal. tank I had to stop too often so I started using the trip meter to estimate.

I knew I had 160 miles left when it said "empty" (I experimented) And I hate filling up. So I estimated and it worked, mostly. I ran out about 5-7 times over an 8 year period. I was so irritated I decided to sell.

I still wonder what the manufacturer's reason was for this design.

Don Duncan

Perhaps in Canada carrying a can of gasoline is illegal, but nowhere that I have ever been in the US or even Central or South America prohibits carrying gas cans. Nor have I ever encountered this issue in Africa. Metal cans (the old US military jerry can, and the new NATO 5 cans) are probably safer than that flimsy metal tank exposed under your vehicle that carries your fuel. There is absolutely no more danger from a jerry can than a gasoline tank built into a car. This seems to me to be a solution in search of a problem and at $60 per gallon, it is ridiculously expensive.


Yes, I guess it's not safe to transport gasoline in your car, never mind that the gas tank is just a big container of gasoline. I used to own a 'safety' gasoline container that was designed to be transported. It was metal, had a spring loaded cap, and some sort of flash or spark suppressor built into the fill hole. I don't know where mine is and I haven't seen any of those advertised in awhile, but I wouldn't be fearful of transporting gasoline in one of those. As I recall, it was more expensive than the cheap metal or plastic 'gasoline' containers that are currently available.

Dennis Learned

A reason why it's not good to run around with the tank down close to empty is because the fuel is used to keep the electric fuel pump motor cool.

Some cars use a foam sleeve around the motor to keep fuel wicked up around it but most simply rely on the driver always keeping enough fuel in the tank to keep the motor immersed.

Gregg Eshelman

So am I the only stupid one here? does the fuel not get sucked out from the bottom of the tank? so how by displacing the fuel from the point of suction does the residual fuel get used?????


I wouldn't use it because there is no guarantee it wouldn't foul the injectors on my truck - which would cost about $16,000 to replace. It's not illegal to carry gasoline; I have a slip tank on my truck because I live in the middle of nowhere and it's a loooong way to the bulk fuel station. Depending on your make of truck, some models rely on a minimum fuel level to help cool the fuel pump, so running out of fuel or not filling your tank consistently will burn out your fuel pump. As well, (the end of my lecture is coming) out here in the wilds of Alberta where the winters can be brutal you want to keep a minimum of a half tank of gas all the time because any lower and it can condense and ice up your fuel line. HOWEVER, If I was in the middle of nowhere, my tanks were low and it was -30 Id sure use this. Problem is; can it withstand freezing temps or would I have to pack it around in my purse...LOL Im not telling you, Im just sayin...

Terri Mason

Whilst it's never a good idea to run the fuel tank down to minimum, I don't see this product being a problem s far as allowing the pump to pick up more debris than without it is concerned. OK the density is going to be slightly higher than petroleum, but I can't believe it will be high enough to float any particulate matter that's in the tank.

However, where I do see this being a problem is that once it's in the tank it's in there to stay - unless you remove the tank and drain it completely. So it's once a only, or a (relatively) big bill for getting it out.

As others have said, it's a lot easier to just fill up before the tank gets that low.


The stuff is really hard to ignite but it is fuel with a really high octane rating making it almost impossible to get a cold start with it but once you have mixed it into a full tank of gas it is not a problem.

I keep a full airtight plastic gas container in the trunk tied firmly to the back of the seat where it will rupture only if the entire trunk has been crushed in which case a little leaking gas will be the least of my worries.


@ idp The intake is not at the lowest spot in the tank.



16K for injectors? do you have a couple of V12's in your rig?


In 17 years of driving pretty much daily, I've run out of gas once. It was after having been in a major traffic jam in winter time, so I kept the engine running for a long time, and ran short about 1 km from the gas station, and 1 km from home. It was night, so I went home first, and bought an emergency jerry can the next day to make it to the gas station and filled up. Never since did I run out of gas.

Every single car I've driven -about two dozen- has a low gas warning light, some even beep (my girlfriend's Toyota Aygo does that, as does my employer's Audi A4) if you're running on reserve. Most cars will allow you to drive 50-100 km before the tank is empty. And I mean empty, with less than 2 liters left. Most cars suck gasoline from the bottom, and fill up a small secondary container first, which houses the fuel pump to keep it immersed in gasoline until you literally run out.

Joris van den Heuvel

This is stupid. The kind of idiot that runs out of gas will most likely not use this product correctly anyway. If someone is too stupid to remember to fill their car up with gas then what makes you think they will have the foresight to buy this faux gas? By the time they walk to a gas station to buy it their engine will be cold.

Grammar Nahtzi
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