Navigating the bewildering new world of car rentals

Alix Davidson says she was “totally excited” when her car rental company recently offered her the keys to a Toyota Prius in Seattle. It was her first time behind the wheel of a hybrid electric vehicle.

But her enthusiasm quickly turned to frustration when she couldn’t figure out how to start the car. “We pushed the button, which looked awfully like our computer’s ‘on’ button, waved the little stick in front of it,” says Davidson, a researcher for an environmental organization in Washington. “Nothing.”
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