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A funny thing happened to me recently. I was parked at an early-morning tailgate-type event and using an inverter in my trunk to power a coffee maker and a hot pot so I could serve coffee and tea to my friends. After a little while, the engine started up to recharge the battery. One guy looked at me and said, "Did your car just start itself? Weird..."

I puzzled over that one for a while, trying to understand why his comment seemed so strange to me. Finally I realized: in an old-fashioned car, the engine is often equated with the car. So when you start your engine, you say you are starting your car. In a hybrid, the engine is just another component of the car, so I start my Prius, and it decides when to start the engine. After driving a hybrid for nearly three years, this has just become natural to me, so I don't even notice it anymore.

So, when your Prius is "ON" and "READY", do you say your car is "running", or do you reserve that statement for when the engine is also spinning?

Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin, USA)
 

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I just say the car is "on"
 

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I "start" my car. Sometimes the gas engine "starts", too. I tend to avoid having the car in various forms of "on" when I'm not planning on driving it, but I never like having my non-hybrid idling for long periods either.
 

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I try to avoid saying I start my car, but as Tideland says, that I turned it on. I say I put it in READY if I need to distinguish it being in full on mode versus the other 2 modes.

I also avoid calling the pedal to the right the 'gas' pedal, but rather the accelerator. After all, it has no direct control over the throttle, let alone the gas.
 
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