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  #1  
Old 02-06-2003, 11:28 AM
Dandmb50 Dandmb50 is offline
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Why do some cars have gas tanks on right side of car?

Have you noticed in the last 5 years or so the confusion these cars cause at the gas pumps when some North American built cars(Ford Taurus) have gas tanks on the right side of the car although most have them on the left.

I remember when I was a kid we were told to keep to the right in North America.
Try doing that at the gas pumps.

I heard before that the reason for this was to prevent a problem with traffic when someone runs out of gas on the side of the highway.
That way when they'r?e filling the tank with one of those small red containers they would be standing on the shoulder of the road rather than on the highway.

Daaaa but what if your driving a North American car in Britain??

It use to be it was just the odd car with the tank on the right side but now at the gas pumps there are all kinds off them and it's a nightmare trying to get to the pump.

Like did anyone ever think (the manufacturers) that maybe it would be a good idea to put it at the back of the car like they were about 30 years ago then evryone would would be able to "keep to the right"

Or does anyone know what the real reason is for so many North American cars to have the gas tank opening on the right side of the car.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2003, 11:36 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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I don't know the official line, but I would assume it's because they don't give it much thought. The fuel filler neck goes where it can fit after everything else has been laid out.
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2003, 11:38 AM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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We did this: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...highlight=tank.

I'll requote this:

Quote:
DESIGN FUEL TANK FILLER NECK ON SAME SIDE AS OUT-GOING VEHICLE AND OTHER IN-PLANT VEHICLE LINES.
PARTS Fuel Tank, Sender, Tubes
DESCRIPTION Changing side for fuel fill neck may require relocation of existing fill equipment or new fill equipment and line rebalance. Results in T&F expenditures.
That's from our intranet, so I can't link to it. It explains why location doesn't change from time to time.
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Old 02-06-2003, 11:39 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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No good cite but this, but I've always heard that cars are deliberately built so that half of them have their gas tanks on the right and half on the left, so that at gas stations an equal number of cars can use both sides of the gas pumps easily, without stretching the hose across the trunk of the car. I don't ever remember a time when gas tanks were only on one side of the car and I started driving 37 years ago.
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Old 02-06-2003, 11:48 AM
Dandmb50 Dandmb50 is offline
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half of them have their gas tanks on the right and half on the left, so that at gas stations an equal number of cars can use both sides of the gas pumps easily""

Well that doesn't make any sense that's my complete point.
If you have half the cars with the tank on the left and half with the tank on the right all of them will want to use one side of the gas pumps, unless they are set up differently in the USA....
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2003, 11:53 AM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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No, you have ALL of the people driving in the same direction. That's so people can wait in line without driving around each other or doing U-turns. So half use one side and half use the other.

Boy, is that sig appropriate!
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2003, 12:03 PM
tanstaafl tanstaafl is offline
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Re: Why do some cars have gas tanks on right side of car?

Quote:
Originally posted by Dandmb50
...
Like did anyone ever think (the manufacturers) that maybe it would be a good idea to put it at the back of the car like they were about 30 years ago then evryone would would be able to "keep to the right"
Well, I can answer this one. It's a safety issue. With the back/center mounted gas cap, the fuel filler line tended to break off of the gas tank in a rear collision, which led to fuel spills and fires. This is much less likely to happen with a side mount.

As for why the right side, my WAG would be for a possibly similar reason. With the cap on the right side it is away from other traffic you would meet either while driving normally or while parked on the side of the road (assuming you are driving on the right and pull to the same side of the road you are driving on). That way, if you are sideswiped by another car (either oncoming while driving or passing while parked) the filler line is on the side opposite the impact.

Or, it could be that being on the right side, when I am getting gas and the cap is facing the pump, the driver's door doesn't open into the pump when you get out to pump the gas making it easier to get into and out of the car.
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Old 02-06-2003, 12:14 PM
tunabreath tunabreath is offline
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It's a difference of design philosophy I once read (don't remember where, maybe ). One school of thought is if it's on the drivers side then you pull up to the pump same side you drive on the road. The other idea is if you runn out of gas you don't want to be using a gas can and be standing out in a lane of traffic. One of my cars is a Nissan and I'm quite happy to have the filler on the passenger side as I have run out of gas (faulty fuel guage). Some older cars avoid this altogether. My '68 Triumph GT6 has the filler cap on the back. One of the good ideas the Brits had that I like quite a bit.

YeHAW! I found it. There is no reason! Look here:

http://cartalk.cars.com/Columns/Arch...vember/10.html
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2003, 12:15 PM
Moirai Moirai is offline
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I drive a (nominally) British car in the USA and my gas tank is on the right. In fact, all of my recent cars have had the gas tank on the right.

Hmmmm...
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  #10  
Old 02-06-2003, 12:27 PM
Spurious George Spurious George is offline
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tanstaafl mentioned:
Quote:
Or, it could be that being on the right side, when I am getting gas and the cap is facing the pump, the driver's door doesn't open into the pump when you get out to pump the gas making it easier to get into and out of the car.
You know what? I guess it's established that this is not a reason that tanks are put on the right side of the car, but it's a huge advantage. My current car has right side tank, and I have plenty of room to get out and in at the pump. My last car had a left-side tank, and I would often knock the door against the curb or the poles protecting the pump. Now that I remember that, I like right-side tank MUCH better.
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  #11  
Old 02-06-2003, 06:34 PM
handy handy is offline
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I don't know about most of you but I would prefer the tank not be behind me but on the other side.

Note that VW bugs used to have them tank in the center in front?
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  #12  
Old 02-06-2003, 06:55 PM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
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This has only recently (say in the last 10 years) become a problem because of those damn short gas pump hoses. The old ones reached to the other side without any problem.

And back then I never really thought of pulling up to the pumps on the left or right in terms of either being the 'correct side'.
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  #13  
Old 02-06-2003, 08:38 PM
Mr2001 Mr2001 is offline
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From what I've noticed, it seems the gas cap is always on the opposite side from the tailpipe.
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  #14  
Old 02-06-2003, 09:17 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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FWIW the exhaust pipe does not always run straight back.
Example a Volvo 240 has the exhaust run from the front to just behind the rear axle on the right side of the car. The rear muffler is mounted sideways and the exhaust exits the car on the far left.
Also it shoud be noted that the filler cap on this car is on the right. So the exhaust run under the filler neck area.
YMMV
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  #15  
Old 02-07-2003, 12:01 AM
wooba wooba is offline
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I was having this discussion with the father of a friend of mine.. my two previous cars (one Korean, one Japanese) had the filler on the drivers side.. my current car (GM) has it on the right.. I was complaining about it being on the right, meaning I have to go around my car to fill it.. something I considered a design flaw.. it was so much easier to just pop out and starting pumping..
He then said that he actually prefered it on the passenger side because it meant he didn't have to worry about opening his door into a pump..
This could be a factor in the decision.. although I certainly like the one above about safety for filling on a highway..
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