Left or right? Approaching a petrol station – a stressful situation.
Left or right? Approaching a petrol station – a stressful situation.
Know-howMobility

Dude, where’s my gas cap?

Raphael Knecht
Zurich, on 27.08.2020
Every time I drive towards a gas station to fill up, I get nervous. Which side is the fuel cap on again? The solution to my problem couldn’t be any simpler.

Whether I’m driving my own car, behind the wheel of a rental abroad or sitting in the passenger seat. The guessing game is always the same. The tank is looking empty and neither the driver nor the passenger know which side of the car the petrol cap is on. It’s the same with plugging in a USB stick. Although there are only two options, it’s almost 99 per cent guaranteed I get it wrong the first time round.

The big question: which side’s the gas cap on?
The big question: which side’s the gas cap on?

My colleague and I are on our way to training when I realise that we’re low on petrol. I immediately head for my favourite petrol station. It’s my favourite because it’s usually deserted and the single petrol pump is usually free. However, this doesn’t stop me from feeling anxious. I ask my passenger if also does a lot of guesswork about the location of the fuel cap. He shakes his head and smiles, points to the tank symbol on the dashboard and says: «The arrow next to the symbol always points to the side the fuel cap is on.»

The answer: so that’s what that little triangle means.
The answer: so that’s what that little triangle means.

By the way, which side the tank goes on isn’t a random affair. German manufacturers place their fuel tank caps on the right because Germany drives on the right. Japanese cars are fuelled up on the left because of left-hand driving. This gives the driver more room to get out of the car at the petrol station because the driving seat is on the other side. Unless you’ve bought your car in the country it was manufactured in, that is. The choice of which side the tank goes on is also a question of safety. If you run out of juice, you can pull over and fill up with petrol from your jerrycan on the side of the road facing away from the traffic.

Gas cap

Did you know about this trick already or did this just put an end to your petrol station anxiety?

  • Wow, thanks for this life hack!
    23%
  • This is old news to me.
    76%

The competition has ended.

And last but not least: the «where’s the lever to open the fuel cap in cars that aren’t my own» question is the next hurdle I’ll try to overcome.

89 people like this article


Raphael Knecht
Raphael Knecht
Senior Editor, Zurich
When I'm not stuffing my face with sweets, you'll catch me running around in the gym hall. I’m a passionate floorball player and coach. On rainy days, I tinker with my homebuilt PCs, robots or other gadgets. Music is always my trusted companion. I also enjoy tackling hilly terrain on my road bike and criss-crossing the country on my cross-country skis.

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