I hate getting gas. It's one of those mundane and not difficult or long chores that have to be done, but I don't want to take the time to do it. But some people make it even harder on themselves.

This should seem familiar: you have been pumping gas into your car when someone came along and stops at a pump, gets out, realizes the gas tank door is on the other side of the car, gets back in, drives around to the other side of the pump only to realize the gas tank door is still on the other side, finally correcting the mistake and lining up the opposite of what I just described.

What they don't realize is that they never were on the wrong side, to begin with. The "wrong side" of the car doesn't exist.

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I usually park at a gas pump so that the gas door is on the same side as the pump. But if that is inconvenient, or will cause me to wait in line for a long time, I will park with the gas door on the opposite side, away from the gas pump.

Andy Erickson/TSM
Andy Erickson/TSM

Why would I do something so dumb? Is it dumb if it still works just the same? At most gas stations you can pull the gas pump nozzle all the way around your vehicle, or drape the hose over your vehicle, insert the nozzle and pump your gas.

I do this most often when I get gas at Costco, where all cars are required to approach and pump gas while pointing in the same direction. It seems most cars have the gas door on the left side of the vehicle, most convenient for the driver, so the lanes right of the gas pumps are usually full and have a line waiting to use one of the two pumps. Meanwhile, the left side is often empty or only has one vehicle in it.

Earlier this week I went there and when I got to the pumps, the right lanes were full with long lines and the left lines were empty. I drove right up, pulled the hose across my trunk, and pumped away.

Andy Erickson/TSM
Andy Erickson/TSM

A woman who saw what I did follow and did the same thing. The pump kept shutting off on her while it was running and she asked me for help.

"Is there a trick to this?" she said.

I told her to hold onto the hose so there isn't so much strain on the nozzle from the hose trying to retract. Modern pumps shut off pretty easily and I've found if I hold the hose and let the nozzle sit relaxed in the port, it runs just fine.

Now I have run into gas pumps where the hose doesn't reach that far so, of course, it doesn't work then. But just like the zipper merge, if there is space to use in a lane, why not use it?

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