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The way it works is actually quite ghetto. A little buoyant "bob" sits at the top of the tank and it drops from the top, when theta=90, to the bottom, when theta=0. Because of the width of the buoy, the resistor sends out a full signal anywhere when the tank is full to when the fuel level is equal to full minus the width of the buoy.

But instead of having me describe it, I suggest you go here instead.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-gauge.htm
 
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