For the Autoblog team, reviewing new cars each week comes with one particular first-world problem challenge - where the heck is the gas tank? Ask any of our editors, and they're likely to have pulled up to a pump, only to find that the tank was on the other side, leading to a trail of curses and grumbling. Why aren't gas tanks all on the same side?

Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics has an answer, in the latest AutoLine Design Handbook. Like many things with the cars we drive today, the position of a fuel tank is something that's evolved from the very birth of automobiles, with regional fluctuations having a heavy influence on the overall layout. Take a look below for the short video on just why the fuel tank is where it is.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 108 Comments
      kkohlstr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Normally I like Jim\'s video clips but his explanation about present fuel filler location placement is baloney. While most platform package studies start with a preferred location--the ultimate location of the fuel filler is determined by package availability. Just look on your cluster near the fuel gage for the arrow---it will guide you accordingly.
        foodeater
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kkohlstr
        Exactly this. I'm always amazed that it seems like nobody knows about, or knows what the arrows next to the gas pump on the fuel gauge mean.
        GasMan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kkohlstr
        I have studied this closely. Many cars do not have little arrows.
      Feurig
      • 1 Year Ago
      I always told customers that MB put it on the right side every time because if you were stranded on the freeway with no gas and had to fill the car up, you would be away from traffic. I still think that's part of the logic there. It just makes sense.
        David MacGillis
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Feurig
        Feurig, Your reasoning is spot-on. In Germany a car that is RH rule of the road has to have the filler on the side that does not face traffic.
        Worx2749
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Feurig
        THAT'S why. Always knew there was a reason for it, and that one does make a lot of sense.
        knightrider_6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Feurig
        I don't know about Mercedes, but normal cars have a fuel gauge and a little yellow light that comes on when you have a couple of gallons left. Or perhaps people who drive Mercedes are too stupid to read those things.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        cpwallen
        • 1 Year Ago
        Not all cars show you which side the filler is on so it has nothing to do with someone's credentials, but rather their attention to detail before filling up the first time.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @cpwallen
          [blocked]
        Charrop
        • 1 Year Ago
        Do all cars have this now? My 2000 Subaru didn't, my 2002 does.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Charrop
          [blocked]
      BC
      • 1 Year Ago
      And before the days of trunk cut lines down to the bumper and gas tanks mounted midships, it was often directly in the center of the rear fascia or even hidden behind a fold-down rear license plate.
      b.rn
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have to disagree. Most cars I've owned have the fuel filler on the passenger side. For example, my current car is targeted for the US and is even made in Chicago. The filler is on the passenger side. The rumor I heard (no idea if it's true) is this is done for safety. If you ever have to fill your tank with a gas can on the side of the road, it's safer to do so from the passenger side.
        john96xlt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @b.rn
        Is your current car a Taurus (or a derivative)? My '12 Taurus is on the right just like my previous Taurus/Sables. All of my compact Ford light trucks (Explorer, Aerostar which I have currently and Ranger) have been on the left.
      Charles Robichaud
      • 1 Year Ago
      lets really confuse the new younger generation, and put it behind the taillights!!!
      Master Austin
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like having it on the passenger side mainly because I can get very close to the pump and not worry that when I open my passenger door, I'm going to hit one of those concrete safety polls. Also, I have seen people on the side of the road stranded and trying to poor gas into their gas tank, not very safe when its on the drivers side and people are flying on by if your pulled over to the right side of the highway. I do enjoy these Autoline clips that explain why such automotive things are so, very curious.
        Muttons
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Master Austin
        Just said much the same above only didn't think about the side of the road fill-up thing. Very true!
      • 1 Year Ago
      in europe, when out of fuel on the roadway, safety dictates emergency refueling is done AWAY from active traffic patterns and on curbside....less the good samaritan be hit.
      merlot066
      • 1 Year Ago
      The filler on the Explorer, Aviator, Windstar, and Mustang that I've owned were all on the passenger side. The Milan and MKZ have it on the driver side. Location doesn't really have anything to do with country of origin. For the Explorer and Aviator it had mostly to do with how the transmission, transfer case, and subsequently the exhaust were routed under the vehicle. Big muffler and piping on the left, gas tank and filler on the right.
      Derek Wu
      • 1 Year Ago
      Generally, when you look at tail pipe, if it's located on the left side, then fuel filler will be on the right side, or opposite side of the tail pipe. Reason?? unknown!! It's same vice versa when the tail pipe is on the right side!!
      CarNutMike
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lotus Esprits had fillers on both sides up until the V8 models (IIRC), which was kind of convenient.
        Narom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CarNutMike
        I have a self built mini with has them on both sides as well due to it having two tanks.
      KO
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've recently been pointlessly fascinated by this. Consistency seems to depend on the manufacturer. Germans do tend to be on the right, with the only notable exceptions I've found to be Porsche 993s and 1st-generation MB MLs. Honda and Toyota seem to stick to the left, with the exception of the platform-mate last-generation Supra and first-generation Lexus SC. US makes are all over, especially Ford and Chrysler. And I don't buy the euro vs US targeted Ford reason since Focus is on the right, but Fiesta is on the left. What about next time we discuss why Germans have reverse on the left, and most everyone else has it on the right, except when the Supra had a Getrag box with right reverse, but Boxsters with Aisin boxes also had right reverse?
        flychinook
        • 1 Year Ago
        @KO
        "I've recently been pointlessly fascinated by this" This line actually made me lol, probably because I find myself often doing the same thing.
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