Ever pulled into a fuel island and discovered that you are on the wrong side to fill the gas tank on? Happens all the time when you drive an unfamiliar car. Well, golly, why they don’t put fuel doors on the same side of each vehicle? We have wondered that too, so we did some research.
First, there is no federal regulation as to where the fuel filler door should be located on any vehicle. This is why you will find them on both sides of cars today. Years ago they were often located at the back of cars but this was deemed a safety hazard and manufacturers now put them on the sides of their cars. Whichever side makes the most sense to the design department, it would seem.
Interesting some studies show that drivers in countries that drive on the right side of the road (like the United States) prefer fuel doors on the left side of their cars. This is probably because drivers can see better when pulling up to pumps on the side that they sit on. Those that drive in Japan, India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand drive on the left side of the road, prefer right-mounted fuel doors. Perhaps a solution would be to install fuel doors on both sides of a car? Believe it or not this has been suggested, but studies have shown that there is no market value to this sort of implementation.
By the way, did you know that on most new cars there is a visual indicator that tells you what side your fuel door is on. Yup, according to an article written by Holt Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, there is. Next time you go for a drive, look at the fuel gauge and you may see a little diamond-shaped arrow pointing to the right or left. Yup, that’s the side the fuel door is on.
In summary: Fuel door position is not a random choice, if engineers have a good reason to place fuel doors on the right, that’s where they go. How does this affect us? It really doesn’t. If you can’t remember the location of your fuel door, don’t be ashamed to look at the little diamond-arrow on your fuel gauge.