Motormouth: Motormouth gets a lot of mileage on fuel filler door question

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

August 13, 2018

Q: I get your enthusiasm for fuel filler doors on the left. Thereís just one snag: international trade. Even assuming every manufacturer had to put the fuel door on the driverís side, if you buy a car from a Japanese company (there are a few of those), the United Kingdom, Australia or India, those countries drive on the left. So, my Nissan 350Z with the fuel door on the right is on the driverís side, in Japan.

ó Anon.

Q: I agree very strongly with your position. I remember being on vacation some years back and was filling the tank at a gas station with a car with the driverís side fill. I was paying attention to the location of the gasoline entering my car in case the auto stop did not work. I felt a jolt and heard a bang. Another car ran into the passenger side rear fender. If I had been filling on that side I might not be around today.

ó L.W., Chicago

Q: Love your column and I agree with you about fuel filler location but for a much different reason. As a woman driver, I feel it is unsafe to have the fuel filler on the passenger side. Also, the first thing I will do if my next car has that feature that automatically unlocks the doors when I put it in Park is CHANGE IT. I can only begin to tell you how unsafe that makes me feel! A feature that was clearly never screened by a female! Am I overcautious? Am I paranoid? Possibly. But better safe than sorry.

ó D.V., Chicago

Q: I have to disagree with the notion that gas tanks should be on the passenger side of the car. With the uptick in carjackings it seems to me it is far safer if you do not have to leave the driverís side of the car. I pull close to the pump, with enough room to open the car door; itís that simple. This way itís harder for people to approach you without being noticed instantly. The door and the pump provide a safety net. Itís also easier to jump in and close the door if youíre threatened. Having traveled for work, I was always nervous when I had to rent a foreign-made car, which usually has the tank filler on the passenger side. This troubles me because I travel alone. The fear of someone stealing your purse or car, or holding you at gunpoint is far easier for the perpetrator when youíre outside your car, on the passenger side. I will never again buy a car with the tank on the passenger side.

ó E.J., Chicago

A: That leaves us with the final word. (What a great position in which to be.) As we have discovered, there is no rule or even unwritten law ("Show me where itís not written"). It frankly boils down to where it is most convenient for the engineers. The fuel door on my car is on the left. The fuel door on Mrs. Motormouthís car is on the right. When one drives the otherís car, there is a brief moment of refueling frustration when approaching the gas pumps. That frustration is quickly overcome with a quick glance at the fuel gauge. There sits a little triangle pointing to the side on which to find the fuel door.