accelerator vs. gas pedal and terms for accelerating

TokyoSkyTree

Banned
Japanese
GasPedal.jpg
What do you call the thing that is on the right-hand side of this image? A gas pedal? An accelerator? Which do you hear or see commonly?
 
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  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    :) Welcome to the forum,TokyoSkyTree.


    It's a gas pedal or an accelerator. In AE, both words are interchangeable.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    In BrE (British English) it would not be called a gas pedal, nor even a petrol pedal :D but simply the accelerator, unless someone was emulating AmE (or unduly "influenced" by it!).
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Hard to give links on an iPad but put "give it some gas" into google's ngram viewer and select American or British English as the database. Lots of AmE usage, particularly from the 60s onwards but BrE, not so much, if any at all. I think US TV and films, er, movies, will mean that it would be understood in context, but it's not used. (or it wasn't when I lived there). They will be waking up soon to confirm :)
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Well we'd (BE) understand "give it some gas", but it probably wouldn't be the first choice.
    American English speakers talk about "gas" and "gas station", we say "petrol" and "petrol station" or "filling station".

    By the way, the pedal might also be called the "throttle" in BE. It sounds rather old-fashioned for a car, but might well be used for a motor-bike or a small plane, where there isn't a "pedal" to increase the power.

    ("Waking up soon" ? - having elevenses, old chap! :p)
     
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    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    There is a slight reaction in some car circles against "gas pedal" because that pedal increasingly controls the flow of electricity. So far it's a few literalists making noise out of all proportion to their numbers, but it may influence usage down the road.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    ("Waking up soon" ? - having elevenses, old chap! :p)
    Well, that was 3 hours after I posted :D
    There is a slight reaction in some car circles against "gas pedal" because that pedal increasingly controls the flow of electricity. So far it's a few literalists making noise out of all proportion to their numbers, but it may influence usage down the road.
    So do they insist on accelerator or feel a new word is needed (rheostat?)?
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Well, that was 3 hours after I posted :D

    So do they insist on accelerator or feel a new word is needed (rheostat?)?
    Accelerator is a misnomer, it is a petrol flow controller/pedal... In an electric car it could be called a watt control pedal.

    There is a word for this, at least on a petrol engine:- it is a throttle. You can open and close a throttle to regulate the flow of petrol to the engine.

    GF..

    I wonder if anyonelse, except me, still uses this... It is out there on the Internet.... so there is hope yet....
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    That's more likely to be kept than adopting a watt control pedal :D (A what control pedal?)

    Accelerator is a misnomer, it is a petrol flow controller/pedal.
    Fuel flow controller is accurate. However, I'll dispute your assertion on the accelerator :D It's a misnomer only when you're (a) not moving it and (b) the vehicle speed is not increasing; even when you hold it stationary, you could still be accelerating the vehicle with constant flow of fuel - what about a CVT petrol car? With you holding the pedal in place, the car will accelerate as the gear ratio slowly changes.

    If the fuel flow is not controlled by a pedal, it's quite likely to be called a throttle.
     

    tomtombp

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    So then "give it some gas" is a no-no in British English?
    Well we'd (BE) understand "give it some gas", but it probably wouldn't be the first choice.
    What would be your first choice?
    How would BrE speakers say the same informally? Both accelerator and throttle seem too formal and technical to me and they can't even be used in this sentence by simply replacing "gas".
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    “Step on it” works in both AE and BE because it is not defined but understood. Accelerator is not formal in BE - it only seems so to those who use “gas” to mean gasoline :)
     

    Orble

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Australian English is very much with the British on this one: it’s an accelerator, and its petrol and “gas” is compressed in bottles to power barbecues.

    Accelerator is the ordinary usage too. Said in pubs, read in vehicle instruction manuals, etc. Throttle is understood but rare.

    We would also say, “put your foot down” probably more often than “step on it”.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Put your foot down"
    "Give it some throttle"
    "Give it some welly"
    "You need more revs"

    The pedal itself is almost invariably called the accelerator in BrE. However, while you can say "give it more accelerator", this is less likely than the options above.

    A lot depends on the context. A new learner driver will probably be told "put your foot down more on the accelerator" or something like that. A driver unfamiliar with a difficult road accompanied by someone who knows it well might be told "you need more revs here" or "give it more throttle". Someone merely wanting to the driver to go faster along the open road ahead might say "put your foot down" or "give it some welly". Or, simply, "Faster!"
     

    tomtombp

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Thank you everyone for the detailed responses, very useful. What would BrE speakers informally say to a motorcyclist (motorbiker in BrE)?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    That would be my first choice, too. :)
    Based on the dictionary, "step on it" seems to be alive and well in BE, even though it is more widely used than simply with its literal meaning. I'm sure our BE residents will comment on how common it is:)

    From Collins at WRF
    step onvb (intr, preposition)
    1. step on it ⇒ informal to go more quickly, hurry up
    Learners sould also be aware of the other meaning of putting one's foot down
    1. put one's foot down ⇒ informal to act firmly
     

    Archilochus

    Senior Member
    American English
    'We would also say, “put your foot down” probably more often than “step on it”.'

    And we might say in the States, "Put the pedal to the metal."
     
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