Home » What’s The Longest You Can Actually Drive In One Sitting?

What’s The Longest You Can Actually Drive In One Sitting?

Autopian Asks Without Stopping
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There’s still much debate about range on both electric and combustion cars. We’re all familiar with cars that have microscopic fuel tanks and the concept of EV range anxiety, and since both share similar concepts, let’s put it to the people. How long can you specifically drive in one sitting without stopping and taking a break?

This means no fill-ups, no stand-up leg-stretches, no bathroom breaks, no pulling over for food, just driving. Pretty simple, right? I’ll go first. You might think that doing this whole car thing for a living might imbue me with superhuman stint abilities, but my answer’s likely more modest than you’d expect.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

If I really have somewhere to be and I’m in a car with comfortable seats and a big enough fuel tank, I can do 425 miles in one shot. That’s about six hours in a car, and that’s more or less my limit. I’ve done it multiple times, to the point where it’s stable, repeatable, and an answer I feel confident in. Now, is it the most comfortable thing in the world? No, but by managing hydration and timing meals, it’s totally feasible.

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However, not everyone can one-shot 425 miles. Some people are good for longer, truly testing the limits of fuel capacities. Some people need more frequent breaks, and that’s also totally okay. I don’t want to say that human backs and knees are wear items, but discomfort is a real thing that’s nothing to be ashamed of. So, let’s turn it over to you — how long can you drive for in one sitting?

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Andrew C Long
Andrew C Long
1 month ago

Lol dude, I used to do 1286 miles in one shot several times a year from our place in Iowa to my In-laws. It took me 22 hours most of the time. You just can’t split that up into 3 400 mile trips. You take time off work to vacation, not to spend a week (6 days) driving. Plus with the cost of hotel rooms these days what are you going to do? Stay 4 nights and spend 600 bucks to sleep.

You ev dudes are such dogmatic sycophants to justify the existence of a technology that’s just as destructive to the planet, if not more so, as petrol vehicles. If they replaced all the cars in the world with EVs, watch where you step because there will be craters from strip mining and mountain top removals everywhere.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew C Long

What vehicle has a tank that holds enough gas for 1286 miles?

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
1 month ago

In 2008, I drove from Munich to Paris on one tank of diesel fuel despite my lead-footed drive on the Autobahn in Germany. I supposed the heavily patrolled Autoroute had helped stretching the fuel range.

The car was 2008 Audi A4 2.0 TDI Avant with five-speed manual gearbox. If you have to ask, the distance between Munich and Paris is about 840 km (roughly 520 miles).

JaredTheGeek
JaredTheGeek
1 month ago

Whatever the tank held. From Sacramento to San Diego was frequent and I don’t remember fuel stops. Now it’s like every 3 hours I stop. I did Sacramento to Louisville, Kentucky in 2 days in a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a friend and Sacramento to Twin Falls, Idaho in a day in an EV. Where I am in life now I prefer the more frequent stops to stretch.

Flyingtoothpick71
Flyingtoothpick71
1 month ago

comfortably, around 450-475 in my mom’s Kia minivan (almost a tank). but the furthest I have ever done is about 9 hours of the 12 from denver to dallas in a ford f350 hauling a trailer with about 75-gallons of fuel so the stop was more snack food and bathroom, not gas, though gas was fairly soon after when we found a place with a hotel and cheaper diesel

Last edited 1 month ago by Flyingtoothpick71
Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
1 month ago

Long haul trucker. My normal day is 6hrs, take a legally mandated 30 minute break, 5 more hrs. Once did 8 hrs non stop, wasn’t to bad. I have a good seat in my truck.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
1 month ago

Now that I have kids, they define the range before the car or I do.

In my younger years, the gas tank was the determinant. Of course that range decreases as speed increases, so the faster you go, the easier on your bladder. On a multi-refuel trip I always found the second tank to be the easiest, any past that progressively worse than the first tank.

My old Camry would push 500 on a tank at 75, but it was closer to 400 if out west where the cruise could be set in the mid-upper 90s. Longest trip of that sort was 1200 miles in 16 hours.

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
1 month ago

Not quite what the question was, but drove a satellite truck from Miami to Seattle, then back to Jacksonville (among many cross-country trips). There were two of us, and we’d drive for 8 to 10 hours then switch. We made it to Seattle in 3 days. Most I think we ever did without a fuel or pee break was 500 miles more or less. As slow as that Volvo was, that was about 10 hours.

That was a long time ago when my body could handle it. Now, two hours and I’m going to stop to stretch and use facilities. Those cross-country drives were amazing, but I’ll never do that again, even if I could.

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
1 month ago

Back when I was 24 I once did the approximately 16 hour drive from my parents in Bozeman, MT to Pasadena, CA in one day. Even worse there was a road accident only 45 minutes from Pasadena that caused me to sit in traffic for another hour. These days as I’m coming up on 40 it’s hard for me to see wanting to do more than 8-10.

Space
Space
1 month ago

500 miles at 80-87 mph (speed limit being 80 but you gotta keep up with traffic.)
Had to stop for gas afterward while my range is ~610 miles you lose some efficiency going that fast. 5 minutes later drive another 4hrs to my destination.

EXL500
EXL500
1 month ago

My partner and I are closing in on 70, and our bladders have always been micro-sized. Max 90 minutes if we’re lucky. Frankly that’s been true for years.

Andrew C Long
Andrew C Long
1 month ago
Reply to  EXL500

Jesus, get your prostate checked dude ????

EXL500
EXL500
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew C Long

I’ve been. I just finished radiation for low level cancer.

Captain Woof
Captain Woof
1 month ago

Not one go, but my dad very occasionally for summer vacation would do 1000 miles in a day with only 2 brief stops for toilet and fuel. We’d drive from the North of the Netherlands to the North of Spain in one day – Leave at 5am so you’re ahead of traffic and arrive around 10pm. Gotta squeeze every last drop of free time out of your vacation

M K
M K
1 month ago

Hmmm. I have 2 trips about the same. Both with different generations of VW diesels. No stops, no getting out of car.
1) Rochester NY to South Haven Michigan via Ohio. About 600 Miles (9 hrs).
2) Lake Como Italy to Braunschweig Germany over the Alps. About 600 Miles (10 hrs).

I’m past the point in my life that I can do that without stopping. I still do a 600 mile trip a couple times a year (Detroit to DC) but now I stop at 300 miles for fuel and a 30 minute rest. In a couple years, I’m hoping to try it in an EV.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 month ago

Planning a big American West road trip in June. Our planned usual with kids in the car is about 3 hours between gas / bathroom / food stops.

My longest total days recently have both been 10 hours straight driving by Google Maps (about 12 hours with stops, or 600 miles), kids in tow. Those are definitely tiring.

JasonGhisKhan
JasonGhisKhan
1 month ago

I once made it just over 500 miles in an Audi A6 3.0T (Palm Springs to San Francisco) with a wife, 2 kids and a dog. Not one of them asked once to go to the bathroom, stop to eat, nothing for the first 463 miles, but at that point there was no stopping me. I was on a mission from gawd. Even when the range read zero, I still managed to make it another 10 miles home. Best trip with the family ever, a true Christmas miracle.

Last edited 1 month ago by JasonGhisKhan
Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
1 month ago

When I was a younger man,( 22 years old) I drove 12 hours a day for 3 days, driving back from California to Michigan pulling a 15ft U-Haul trailer.

(I drove from 10AM to 10PM everyday until I reached Michigan.)

Last edited 1 month ago by Shooting Brake
Acd
Acd
1 month ago

I drove 650 miles in 9 hours and 7 minutes without stopping in my VW Passat Diesel once. Still had another 100 miles left in the tank before I had to refuel but had to pee like a racehorse when I finally got out of the car.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
1 month ago

I’ve never had a car that did more than about 340-350 miles on a tank. Small cars with small tanks or bigger cars with bigger tanks, they all seemed to be between 300 and 350 full tank mileage. So thats the max distance I’ve gone. Fill tank, drive to empty, fill tank, drive again.

JaredTheGeek
JaredTheGeek
1 month ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

Same, I was reading these in awe of the fuel capacities.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  JaredTheGeek

You should be in awe of people’s inability to answer the actual question. Several answers (most?) include pee and refuel stops. Sigh.

SegaF355Fan
SegaF355Fan
1 month ago

The longest drive I’ve ever been on was when my brother and I drove down from Detroit to Orlando with a night spent just inside the Florida border, with the funniest thing being that I remember bits of the drive down but not a single bit from the drive back up.

The longest solo drive I’ve done was Chicago to New York City and then back again, over a weekend. 16 hours each way. But I think the longest uninterrupted stretch of driving would probably have been from the Brady’s Leap service plaza along I-80 East in Ohio to Queens, when my Impreza 2.5RS was not quite but sort of getting close to running on fumes. (Side note, I never did manage to average better than 29 mpg over a full tank in that car, even coasting down all the long downhill sections in Pennsylvania.)

And looking back now, that car was so not a long distance cruiser. I still remember how, after one of those long drives, I would get out of the car and my hands would feel like they’re still “buzzing” from the vibration through the steering wheel. The car was very nice in the twisties because I could totally feel what the front end was doing, but it did make driving long distances tiring.

Anyways looking at Google now, it looks like it would have been 440 miles and probably a little over 6.5 hours from Ohio to New York.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago

I used to travel about 550 miles each way when my (then) girlfriend and I attempted the long distance thing. I was only limited by my gas tank, and I’d get about 400 miles in one shot. Gas, pee, snack, and I’m back on the road.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
1 month ago

Christmas 2004, driving from Arizona to Florida/Georgia with my best friend to celebrate Christmas with our families. While crossing Texas, I did something I had never done before, that I haven’t done since, despite the great pride I take in being a road warrior: I pulled over and filled up the tank, got back behind the wheel, started the car, and drove until it was time for gas again. I drove an entire tank of fuel empty in one sitting. In my 1995 GTI, that amounted to about 350 miles, if I remember correctly. I didn’t even realize I had done it until I had done it.

That trip ended up being 4700 miles in ten days, and by my calculations, I drove all but about 250 miles of it.

Dirk from metro Atlanta
Dirk from metro Atlanta
1 month ago

Last time I needed to do anything like this was an eight and a half hour ~550 mile solo jaunt to visit family several years back. It was something I hadn’t planned, but happened because of what we’ll call an “unforced error” on my part.

I don’t know how often I stopped, but I certainly stopped to stretch and “dine” mid-way. I knew I’d be hitting my destination in the dark and would have to have my wits about me.

This is unlikely to happen again. I don’t care about making some heroic effort, even though I’ll admit that I do love to be able to say I covered a crap-ton of miles.

#GettingTooOldForThisShit

Skeezix
Skeezix
1 month ago

When I moved from Chicago to Seattle, I had to do it in one shot due to COVID and two cats.

Stopping only for gas and the occasional meal, I punished that drive in just under 32 hours.

Felt like absolute trash by the time I finally rolled in, but had just enough oomph left to run out to a local store for an air mattress and blanket (everything else showed up in a PODS a few days later) before passing out for close to 16 hrs.

I definitely don’t recommend it…

ExParrot
ExParrot
1 month ago

I travel pretty routinely for work. I have done 6 hour stretches which works out to between 400 and 450 miles, but as you said, it’s not all that comfortable and pretty wearing. Usually that’s something that occurs if I’m driving in the wee hours of the night.

Typically, I plan to stop every 3 hours which works out to between 200 and 240 miles.

Jose Navas
Jose Navas
1 month ago

Comes down to how much that tank O’ gas will take you. I just did a Seattle to Murrieta drive last summer, 1,225 miles total scattered over two days. In a full 10ft U-Haul truck. Towing a 2017 Subaru Legacy along. Don’t think I’ll do that ever again, lol. Besides rest stops and stopping for gas and food, I think I did about 300-400 miles per leg. Amazing views though, was one for the memory book.

VogonFord
VogonFord
1 month ago

Not very far, I have to take breaks every like two hours. I am not a long hauler by any stretch of the imagination.

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