Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Where's The Gas Door?

Ever wonder why your gas door is on the side of the car it is on?  I have.  Why?  Because I think about all sorts of random shit and I love cars, that's why.  I am going to write down my own thoughts and observations and then go do some research to prove/disprove my ideas in a later blog post.  I am only going to address "cars" in detail in this post, not trucks/suvs/crossovers.  I have noticed it is more common then not that those types of vehicles, especially the full size variety, are more likely to have the tank on the drivers-side.

Domestic Market Passenger's Side:

All 5 European cars I have owned have had the gas door on the "domestic market" passenger-side.  That appears to be the case across the board too. BMW, VW/Audi, Mercedes, and Volvo are on the driver's right, and Mini is on the driver's left (since it is "British").  The same appears to be true for Japanese car brands.  Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura place their tanks on the driver's left.  Ford tends to adhere to this train of thought as well on it's "world" models but the Crown Vic/Town Car/Grand Marque were on the opposite side.  (I think that is so the older and professional drivers that drive them don't have to walk around the car to fill up).

I have a couple theories on this, but the most likely is so that when you pull into a gas station, you stay to the same side of the lanes of pumps that you would while driving on the road.  It has the added benefit of allowing you to pull closer to the pump and not worry about banging your door into the pump when you get out to fuel up.

Copy Cats:

Hyundai and Kia aimed for their near-by neighbors from Japan as a target for success.  They have developed loftier goals now (Aiming for Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus) but seem to still follow the Japanese brands on gas tank door location opting for the Driver's left even though Korea is a Left-Hand-Drive nation.

Cluster Fuck:

GM is a cluster fuck.  Some on one side, some on the other.  It isn't even a clean break between the imported from overseas models vs built in North America.  I think GM did it to cater to the fat lazy American's so we wouldn't have to walk around the car to fill up.  Just a guess.  As for the ones on the passenger-side, they might be more world-car type models geared to be sold outside the US.

I don't have any idea about Dodge because I don't pay enough attention.

So, in a future blog post, I will look into how wrong I was at least about the convention of which side the gas door is on.

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