Travel Tip of the Week: Don’t pull up on the wrong side again

How to figure out where the stupid fuel door is.

I started my business travel career as I’m sure many of you did: shadowing someone already in the field. Like the protege in Up in the Air I hoped for a Ryan Bingham to show me the ropes. Instead I ended up teaching her a few things.

She had been traveling in her position for a year of weekly travel and 2 rentals a week. She pulled up to the gas pump only to realizea close-up of a gas gauge the fuel door was on the other side. “Didn’t you just look at the arrow” I said. “The arrow?” she asked. Yes! The arrow by the fuel gauge that points to the fuel door. I drive an Audi and that doesn’t have an arrow, but I can’t remember any rental without one. Even the Aveo I got in Missouri that didn’t have any power still managed to splurge for a strip of paint to tell me where to put the gas I didn’t use but would be charge for without a receipt.

Save yourself some difficult maneuvering next time and check the arrow.


  1. I am so glad you blogged about this! I travel every week for business and have had to tell at least 6 different male coworkers about the gas arrow. I couldn’t believe none of these guys knew about this and just tried to guess which side the gas tank was on.

  2. Love this! took my an embarrassing amount of time to learn this. I have posted a link on my blog to your awesomeness.

  3. I thought it was common knowledge as well, but apparently many people who rent regularly must just get lucky and get cars with the fuel door on the same side as their personal car.

    Opening the fuel door is another subject! I had a Mitsubishi once with a door that looked like it was locked but had no lever in the car. Eventually I just pushed the thing and it opened. A week later a coworker got the same type of car and just returned it without refueling because she couldn’t figure it out and was running late. The button on my TT is below the center console. The lock/unlock for doors is below the park brake. I love coming home to my TT every weekend, but it does not conform to rental standards. That’s a good thing though.

    I still forget HHRs have window controls below the radio and open the door to talk to the gate person.

  4. Last Nov. I tweeted something about this as a question … I was complaining and sure enough others tweeted back about the arrow on the gas gauge which for all the car rentals I’ve done over the years, never knew or noticed. No matter how much biz travel knowledge we have, there’s always something we don’t know. Good post.

  5. When I get a rental car that doesn’t have an arrow I simply pull the gas tank lever when I am pulling into the gas station. That usually opens the door just enough for me to see it from one of the side mirrors and I instantly know which pump to pull into.

  6. Never knew this. Can’t tell you how many times I have pulled up to the wrong side, only to have to turn the vehicle around. Thanks.

  7. Sure enough, I checked my car and it had that arrow too. It seems about half the time I get a rental, I pull up to the wrong side….Wait, I mean the tank is on the wrong side of the car.

  8. Im A Car dealer for 38 years, Used Car Dealership Owner… meaning I am in More different Types and models than someone who works for a new car dealership.

    Very Few cars have the Arrow you are all speaking about.
    I have over 100 cars and am in about8 cars a week. I only had 12 of all the cars I was in in the last month Have the Fuel Door Arrow. some foreign cars have them. But in Reality Most cars DO NOT Have the Door Arrow.

    1. Rental cars are specific models and those models do tend to have the arrow. My audi does not, but even the Budget truck I rented last week had one.

      Do you drive fleet vehicles or just any car? My experience with rentals is that in the past 6 years only 2 cars did not have the arrow. That is 1 to 2 cars per week, but still very valid data.

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