10-second tip: rental cars.

If you don’t already know this tip, this is definitely one of those moments where you think, “OHHH!”

I was reminded of this yesterday when my friend Hottie and I had to stop for gas as we drove our rental car back to the airport. We were in a hurry, and Hottie was driving. “What side is the gas tank on?” she asked. “Quick! Make a guess!”

“Left side. Ta da!” I said.

She raised her eyebrows, wondering how I knew. It’s super simple: look at your dashboard. The gas nozzle on the fuel gauge will tell you.

fuel gauge

In the image above, the gas nozzle is on the right – so the gas tank is, too.

Sometimes there is an arrow as well. This can be on either the left side or the right side, and will point in the direction of the gas tank.
Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 10.12.24 PM

Ta da!



  1. Excellent tip! Small correction to not make folks confused: nozzle is on the right side, so gas tank is on the left (not right).

  2. that is the BEST TIP!!!! i am CONSTTANTLY wondering , even in my OWN CAR!!!

  3. Points Pixie says:

    Suz – In my experience, the nozzle (or nozzle + arrow in some cars) in on the same side as the gas tank when you are sitting in the driver’s seat and looking at the dashboard. Is your car different? What kind of car is it? Would be good to know if one model is different from the rest.

    margiec – me too 🙂

  4. Coming from someone that drives 1-2 rental cars per week, most vehicles have an arrow on the gas tank side of the fuel gauge.

  5. We often avoid figuring it out by using Costco, whenever possible, as the hose is always long enough to pump either side. It seems to be about the cheapest gas around, also.

    And, if we have really trashed our travel budget, there is always that $1.50 hot dog to help out. Yes, we really love Costco, even while traveling.

  6. I meant in your original post, when the nozzle is shown in the picture (on the right), you knew that meant the gas tank is on the left because you car has to be right side of the gas nozzle as you’re facing the passenger seat!

  7. Thanks for the great tip!

  8. This is completely bogus. Nearly all fuel gauge icons show the nozzle on the right-hand side, regardless of which side the filler is on. The location of the nozzle is meaningless. Most manufacturers now include an arrow showing which side the car is filled. Whether the arrow points left or right, though, the nozzle shown on the icon will probably be on the right.

  9. Points Pixie says:

    JakePB – Yep!

    Anne – Great tip.

    Suz – Got it! I can see how that would be confusing.

    Sandy – 🙂

    David – Hmmm. I’m not sure I would call it “bogus,” as it’s accurate info. If there is no arrow, the gas tank is on the right. If there is an arrow, the gas tank is on the side of the arrow. Just in case people need more help with this concept, I’ve included another image above for crystal clarity. Hope that helps!

  10. I haven’t owned a car for 10+ years and I am fairly certain that every rental car I have had in the past 10 years has induced an arrow. I always look for one, because that’s how I know which side to use… If a car didn’t have one, I would be pretty annoyed.

  11. Points Pixie says:

    Hua – It definitely makes a difference.

    Brian – Yep, it’s a great tip.

  12. Ha! Well whaddya know. I had no idea, and just had to go check my 12 yr old SUV. Outside in this cold rainy Hawaiian rain (yes!). Indeed there is a lil arrow to the left! My brain always took it as being part of the icon design and it never registered. I drive rental cars frequently and never knew. Thanks, learned something today!

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