The gas pedal, also known as the accelerator or throttle, is the pedal in the driver’s footwell located on the far-right. The term ‘gas’ is short for gasoline and the term originated from America. In the US and other Latin countries the term ‘gasoline’ is used, whereas in the UK, the rest of Europe and Asia, we call it ‘petrol’.
Why do British People Call it the Gas Pedal?
Even though we do not use the term ‘gasoline’ in the UK, you’ll find that when you start learning to drive, your driving instructor will almost certainly call it the gas pedal. This is because it’s generally a universally recognised term and that it’s much easer and faster to say than ‘accelerator’ or ‘throttle’ pedal. If you’re a driving instructor and you need to say something quickly and in the moment, it makes sense to use the word gas.
Is the Gas Pedal always on the Right?
Yes, the gas pedal is always on the right. It doesn’t matter whether the car is a left-hand drive or right-hand drive, the gas pedal is always the one on the right, regardless of which country you’re in.
The brake is always the pedal just to the left of the gas pedal and it’s usually wider compared to the gas pedal. If you’re driving an automatic car, there are two pedals, the gas pedal on the right and the brake pedal on the left.
If you’re driving a car with a manual transmission, then you’ll also have a clutch pedal. The clutch pedal is always the one on the far-left. From right to left, automatics cars are gas pedal then brake pedal. Manual cars are gas pedal, brake pedal, then clutch pedal. All cars are the same configuration throughout the world.
Terms you May Hear Your Driving Instructor Say
When starting out learning to drive, particularly at an early stage, you’ll hear your driving instructor reference the gas pedal quite frequently. The more common phrases that reference the gas pedal include:
‘Cover the gas’
This means to place your foot on the gas pedal in preparation to go, but not pressing it. Or to release the gas pedal so that the car slows down by use of engine braking.
Your instructor may say ‘more gas’ meaning that they want you to apply more pressure to the accelerator pedal to go faster, or to provide the engine with more power, if going uphill for example.
‘Set the gas’
This is a phrase commonly associated with those learning a manual car, but not so much when learning in an automatic car. ‘Set the gas’ means to apply gently pressure to the accelerator pedal while the car is held stationary by the the brakes. In an automatic, you may want to do this when attempting a hill start.
How to Use the Gas Pedal
For further information on learning to drive an automatic and how to use the gas pedal, see how to use the accelerator pedal in an automatic car.