When you rent a car from any company these days, they give you the choice of paying ahead of time for a full tank of gas, and then return the vehicle with however much gas remains and skipping the step of refilling it yourself at the end of your rental. I don’t enjoy paying for gas I haven’t used, so I always take the “fill-it-myself” option.
Yesterday, at the end of my Vegas trip, I stopped at a gas station a couple of blocks away from the car rental center at McCarran Airport. I pulled the Mazda M5 I’d rented right up to the pump, pulled the little lever under the driver’s seat to open the gas cap, and got out — only to find that the gas cap wasn’t on the left side of the car. It was on the right. There was a time when the hoses at pumps were long enough that you could pull them across the car and still refill your tank, but not anymore.
That meant I had to get back in, pull around, and try it from the other side. It’s a minor thing, but why do we even have this lack of continuity anymore?
No car rental agency in this country would ever give you a car with the steering wheel on the right side, so why don’t all vehicles sold in America come with the gas cap on the left? We drive on the right side of the road — you should get gas from the right side of the pump.
Not only would we all follow the same convention, we’d also avoid that glare you get from a left-side re-filler when they encounter you suddenly facing them on their side of the pump, as if you were going the wrong way on a one-way street.
I know America is a deeply divided nation, but surely we can all get together on this.
Once we do, we can take on our next priority — killing the people who put TVs spewing nonstop commercials on top of the pumps.