What’s It For? Answer Points Here

We’ve all seen it. It’s on the instrument panel of a newer car. Along the arc between the F and E is a symbol for a little gas pump. To the left of it is an arrow. Or…it’s a little green arrow between two red rectangles. What’s it for?

Pick one:

a) The arrow indicates the direction that the dots move from empty to full. Most gauges and dials—think your radio volume, for example—work in the opposite fashion: full/more is to the right, empty/less to the left. While F and E would seem sufficiently explanatory, car manufacturers further clarify the matter with an arrow, lest drivers get confused.

b) The arrow indicates the direction the needle will go when the tank is filled.

c) The arrow indicates which side of the car the gas tank is on. This arrow points left, so the car’s filler cap is on the left.

d) The arrow indicates, when lit up, that the car has been driven a certain distance since it was last filled. This is so rental companies can catch folks who return a car without filling it up. (On this fairly typical car, the arrow lights up 9.3 miles/15 kilometers after the last fill-up, so a driver must fill it up within that distance of the return location to avoid a fee.)

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