You pull up to the gas station, park your car, get out and then realize.. “Oh no, my gas tank is on the other side!”. Maybe you’ve experienced this feeling because your driving a rental car, or maybe it’s because you own more then one car and the tanks are on different sides. We’ve all been there.
It turns out, car makers have come up for a solution to this problem, but surprisingly most people I talk to don’t realize this! More about that in a minute, but first, why are gas tanks on different sides of the car? Wouldn’t it make sense to always put them on the same side?
I’ve heard some theories that it relates to whether a car is made by a company that sells more right-hand drive cars (such as in Japan or the UK), but this is not the case. In fact, even from a single manufacturer like Toyota, you’ll find the tank on different sides of the car.
Although there is no evidence that gas tanks are deliberately put on different sides of the car, I’m sure glad they do this. Why? Because it evens the odds that you can just pull up to a gas pump, without having to turn around and back in the wrong direction. If half are on the right, and half are on the left, the odds are an even amount of people will be able to pull in and have the tank on the right side of the car.
Ok, well wait, you said there was a way to remember which side your tank is on? Although I’ve heard rumors that the direction the icon of the gas pump itself faces is a clue, this is definitely false. What is true is that since 2000, many manufactures have started providing an indicator arrow that looks like this:
I’m always surprised how many people have never noticed this! So, next time you drive a rental car, don’t stress, just look for your gas tank filler door indicator arrow. If it looks like the image above, your gas tank filler door is on the left side of the car.