EXPLORATION: Basics – Fuel Issues - #00003
'A dry ship is just space debris' – Anonymous
No matter if on exploration or just going places, you need to keep an eye on your fuel state and plan your journeys wisely for not running out of fuel and losing your ship.
Fuel Tanks and Standard Range
Ships in Elite Dangerous got fuel tanks and fuel consumptions which vary a lot.
Most multi purpose ships are able to bridge at least 80-120 ly (light years) of range, even with medium quality equipment. (Not per jump but as in 'overall range per fuel load', of course).
Combat ships are 'short legged', though. Not only is their single jump range shorter than that of multi range ships, most of them run out of fuel after 2-4 jumps, too.
Fun fact: Frame Shift Drives are relevant for your total range, not only for your single-jump-range. The more expensive qualities (E is cheapest, A is the most expensive) not only provide more single-jump-range (and thereby let you go to a destination with less reroutes), they are also more efficient in jump-range-per-fuel-consumed.
Expanding your range
Apart from keeping your ship as light as possible – which is a good idea no matter what you do – the most efficient way of expanding your is not installing additional fuel tanks.
Optional fuel tanks can be useful to provide more total range, once you visit the galaxy's outskirts so you don't have to refill your tanks every 2-4 hops, the most efficient way is using a fuel scoop, though.
A fuel scoop has no weight (magic!), it draws only a little bit of energy from your power plant and it refills your fuel tanks without any addition cost, just by flying close to a main star.
Sounds too good to be true? It has drawbacks, that's true. Don't come to close to a hot star or you'll damage your modules by overheating your ship over 100%. Enter the main star's direct vicinity and you might drop into normal speed where you experience additional heat when trying to jump away. So yes, you should be careful using a fuel scoop but it's worth it as it expands your range to (near)infinity.
The most important thing about your fuel scoop is: It doesn't work on all main stars. Only main sequence stars of KGB FOAM qualities can refill your fuel tanks. KGB FOAM because imagining a cold war russian agent in a bubble bath is a great way to memorize the star qualities. Once you've seen it...
If you ever run out of fuel, don't just surrender to your fate. Switch to Elite's main menu in order to save fuel and call the FUEL RATS, a very helpful altruistic player group dedicated to deep space rescue.
No matter if 10 ly or 10.000 ly away, they'll drop by and provide enough fuel for you to get out of your 'situation'.
Tip: Visit their site at least once. If only for their cute logo.