Joey Logano was the first leader to fade, his tank empty with three laps left.
Martin Truex Jr. struck E with two laps to go.
Kyle Busch knew his Toyota was about out, too, his shot at a fourth straight win tapped out on the last lap.
One by one, fuel woes cost the contenders. But the pain at the pump for drivers pushing toward the finish line was the break Matt Kenseth needed to coast past them all in the final thrilling laps Sunday to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.
The 400-mile race came down to fuel and which cars had it - and which ones didn't.
Once they ran out, Kenseth not only had enough left in the tank to win, he pulled off a celebratory burnout.
Kenseth's win continued the sensational summer run for Joe Gibbs Racing, making it five wins in the last six races. Busch, who had the other victories, failed in his bid to become the ninth driver since 1972 and the first since Jimmie Johnson in 2007 to win four straight Cup races.
Busch had won three straight Cup races and four of five, swept the Xfinity and Cup races last weekend at Indianapolis and won the Truck Series event Saturday at Pocono. Busch remained outside the top 30 in points, the second marker he needs to hit to qualify for the Chase.
With a win, Busch would have had the points needed to at least crack the top 30, though he'd have to stay there for the final five races before the 16-driver field is set for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Truex was 19th, Logano 20th, and Busch 21st.
Brad Keselowski was second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle.
Kenseth had the only position that mattered, winning for the second time this season and for the first time ever at Pocono.