Don’t pull up on the wrong side again when refueling a rental

(Repost from March 23, 2010)

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. D’oh… and I’ve be on the road for 23 years and never knew this. Thanks! If CarTalk was still on the air (live) I’d ask them when this started.

  2. Additionally, how to open the gas flap… More than ince I’ve had to stop and figure out how to use the remote switch, or where the opener switch is. Borrowed a Mercedes once and had to call the owner and ask how to open the filler door!

    1. Good point, Steve. I think i had a Mitsubishi Galant where it looked like there would be a lever by the driver like many Nissans and Toyotas have, but actually you just pushed the door and that released it.

      My new ford has the easy fill capless system where you really have to jam the pump in to fill up.

  3. Not all cars have the arrow. I am pretty sure it doesn’t depend if it is a rental or not. 😉

    1. I think fleet cars are more likely to have it, but my old Audi did not but my new Escape does. I’d say 95% of my rentals had the arrow though.

  4. I *think* there is also a convention depending on the country of the car make. Eg: German cars (Mercedes, BMW, etc) will have the gas tank on the right

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