We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I think that it points to which side of your car the petrol cap is situated. In the old days, depending on which side of the car the cap was, the actual fuel gauge was situated on the corresponding side of the instrument panel. It makes it easier for those in the know to pull up at the correct side of the petrol pump.
Matt from Australia
Yep, what they said. Matt is correct about older cars, although it wasn't universal, at least in the U.S. Sometimes the it was the direction the needle was pointed rather than the side of the panel. There was a period where the gas pump symbol without an arrow was also used to indicate which side the pump was on. Some cars just didn't indicate at all.
Actually, it indicates if a left-handed or right-handed gas pump should be used.
The side where the gas pump hose is located will put a small spin on the liquid being fed, which has to be cancelled by the alignment of the gas filler pipe and tank in the car.
This process is reversed in the southern hemisphere.
While I have so far failed to drive off with the filler hose still attached to the car I have been in service stations twice when it happened. What a commotion! People yelling and running, hoses thunking and snapping, offending driver cranking up the tunes to cover that noise she can't figure out... (and yes, both times were women drivers).
Ahhh, yes, but the deeper question is WHY do different makes of cars have the gas fillers on different sides of the car? Shouldn't it be uniform, just like what side of the road you drive on, so that everyone comes in to fill up at the station the same way?
My theory, which I haven't been able to prove, is does it matter what the country of origin of the car is? In other words, in Japan or Britain, where people drive on the other side of the road, would the tanks have the opening on one side and then American cars would have it on the other? So Jaguars and Toyotas would have it on one side of the car (my Honda has it on the left) and American cars the other? (My theory obviously falls to pieces if, for example, American cars have fillers both on the right side or left side.