If you have ever driven up to a gas pump at a gas station, gotten out of the car just to realize your gas door is actually on the other side of the car? Or maybe you are driving up to the gas station and see someone stretching the pump all the way to the other side of the vehicle. Well, you are certainly not the only person in this predicament. Some vehicles have the pump on the left side of the car, while others have it on the right side, causing major confusion amongst drivers throughout America.
Ford spokesman, Mark Schirmer, recently commented on theAllstateBlog, stating engineers are able to place the fuel doors on either side of the vehicle. This is ultimately determined by the easiest method of packaging. If you were hoping for a fuel door on either side of the vehicle, you will be severely disappointed. Schrimer commented that while they may be convenient, there simply is not room for the pumps on both sides, nor a demand for them. Furthermore, adding a fuel door on either side of the vehicle is an added expense for the companies to overcome, driving up the prices of the vehicles even more. Another possible solution shot down is a centered fuel door, which could lead to major bonfires with a simple fender bender.
The main reason a fuel door is placed where it is on the vehicle is largely due to how the fuel tank is designed, where it is located, and the vehicle’s underbody packaging. Steve Yaeger, of Nissan, stated that the structure and components underneath the vehicle restricts the engineers with how they are able to route the filler tube. These restrictions make it virtually impossible to have the fuel door on the same side in every vehicle, since the bottoms of all vehicles are different in some way.
Schirmer believes in American society, a majority of Americans prefer to have the fuel door on the left side of their vehicle. Placing the fuel door on the left side of the vehicle makes it easier to place the vehicle’s left fender close to the pump. On the flip side, in areas where people drive on the right side of the road, like the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and India for example would prefer to have the fuel door on the right side of the vehicle.
While the government does regulate where the fuel door should be positioned, there is ultimately no regulation on which side of the vehicle it must be on. The main regulations would be to have the fuel door on the widest part of the car, inboard of any crumple zones, and in a safe location that will avoid dripping into any exhaust bits or electrical wiring. Based on these restrictions, a majority of cars will have the fuel door on either side of the vehicle, and close to the passenger compartment.
There are those who are outwardly opposed to having the fuel doors on one side of the vehicle for one simple reason. According to Robert Frank, writer for the PBS Newshour, having the fuel doors on one side of the vehicle will clog up the gas stations. He states that just fifty percent of the pumps would be in use, forcing people to spend more time at the gas stations than usual.
If you are in the market for a new vehicle, and somehow the fuel door is a major determining factor in your decision, there are tendencies for certain auto companies on which side they put the fuel door. Most continental European automakers, along with American ones as well will typically place the fuel door on the left side of the car. According to GoodCarBadCar.net, in 2020 alone 78% of the cars sold in the United States were sold with fuel doors on the left side of the vehicle. Brands like BMW, Honda, and Audi have their fuel doors on the same side, while other brands like Mercedes, Chevy, and Jeep like to mix up their location.
If you have multiple vehicles with opposite fuel door locations, or you simply struggle to remember which side of the car your fuel door is, just look at the arrow adjacent to the fuel gauge for a reminder! It is always helpful to check the location before parking at the gas station, otherwise you may have to jump back in the car to go to a different pump. If you truly have a preference, make sure you research your car before you purchase it to ensure you are completely satisfied with your purchase.
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