General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Why is it that nearly every automobile that has the exhaust on the right side has the fuel delivery on the left side, and vice versa?

Asked by AstroChuck (37566points) November 25th, 2009 from iPhone

I’ve only rarely seen a vehicle where the exhaust and gas cap are on the same side.
Obviously this doesn’t apply to cars with dual exhaust.

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13 Answers

OreetCocker's avatar

As exhausts produce heat they usually want to keep em as far away from the fuel tanks as possible :-)

kevbo's avatar

I’m glad my exhaust faces opposite my intake.

AstroChuck's avatar

@OreetCocker- If that’s the case why don’t all vehicles follow that rule?

janbb's avatar

@kevbo What are you, trying to be AstroChuck?

kevbo's avatar

Carpe Yuk!

DrBill's avatar

The hot exhaust pipe has to be protected from the fresh gasoline

AstroChuck's avatar

That makes sense but it doesn’t explain why there are a few models that have both on the same side. I’ve got to think there’s another reason still.

Harp's avatar

I think it’s because the default position for the tailpipe is on the right, so as to direct exhaust to the curbside, and the filler flap on most cars designed for the American market are on the driver’s side.

The tailpipe position has to do with keeping the exhaust from the car in front of you from flying directly into your line of sight or into your open window.

The driver’s side filler flap is a market preference. It’s considered more convenient, and there’s an advantage to having a consistent placement across manufacturers, so as to avoid awkward traffic conflicts at gas stations.

AstroChuck's avatar

@Harp- I don’t know. I have a Mercury Sable and the exhaust is on the left side (opposite the tank, of course).

Darwin's avatar

I don’t know either, but there is a discussion here that raises some interesting possibilities. And then this site covers some of the same ground but also proposes this explanation:

“The reason the filler door is opposite the muffler in single-exhaust-only cars is that the fuel tank and muffler occupy the same space on opposite sides. Muffler position can vary depending on the easiest/cheapest way to route the exhaust around the engine and transmission components.”

Apparently, Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers (Car Talk) have said on air that the filler and the exhaust are generally on opposite sides to avoid any possibility of gasoline splashing on to a hot exhaust pipe.

YARNLADY's avatar

I like red cars best.

OreetCocker's avatar

@AstroChuck. It depends on where the majority of the heat exchangers and the catalytic converter sit. On older cars it was easy to put the fuel tank on the opposite side safely out of harms way. With the advances in insulation tech and car design anything is now possible!

AstroChuck's avatar

@OreetCocker- Interesting. I’ll have to start looking at older cars and see if any at all have both on the same side, but I’ll bet you’re right.

@YARNLADY- My Sable is red.

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