The Gas Gauge Fuel Port Lifehack

I thought I might have been the last person to learn of this little fact, although since I’ve mentioned to others, I’ve found that many don’t know.

Think fast: Which side of your car is your car’s fuel port? Driver’s side? Passenger’s side? When it comes to your car, that answer shouldn’t be a challenge: we know where our own car’s fuel port is.

When you have to drive a different car — a rental, for example — and it’s time to fill the tank, you then find yourself with a problem: which side?

An email that began circulating in 2007, according to, attempted to explain the easy way to determine the answer without getting out of your car or without having to strain your neck by looking out your driver’s window (for those too lazy to get out of their car).

That email went something like this:

If you look at your gas gauge, you will see a small icon of a gas pump. The handle of the gas pump will extend out on either the left or right side of the pump.

If your tank is on the left, the handle will be on the left. If your tank is on the right, the handle will be on the right (see attached images).

It is that simple!

Only it isn’t that simple.

The direction of the handle on the gas pump icon itself doesn’t have anything to do, except by coincidence, with which side of the vehicle the port is situated.

But there is something right next to that gas pump icon that does.

Look for a small triangle, immediately to the right or left of that gas pump icon. The triangle looks like the head of an arrow, and if it’s pointing to the left, the fuel port is on the driver’s side of the vehicle. If the arrow points to the right, the fuel port is on the passenger’s side.

Most of the more recently-made vehicles have this icon.

For those of you with older vehicles or those with gas ports at the rear of the vehicle, you folks are, unfortunately, on your own.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.