The way I see it, the real "problem" with hybrid cars with respect to mileage, is that they show you immediately and over time what your actual gas mileage really is. Prior to hybrids, you didn't have this immediate feedback.

Imagine if all cars were required to have an mpg display like you see in hybrids. I would imagine that a number of people would look at their mileage and would begin to slightly adapt their driving style to get better mileage.

Traditionally, the tendency for most folks -- myself included -- has been to report their mpg in terms of the best mpg they have ever gotten on the car. As in, "Well, I got <mpg> on a trip from A to B.

But with the mpg gauge, you have a constant and never-ending reminder of your mileage. You can't say "I get 20/28 mpg" (because that's what the EPA sticker said), or "I get 32 mpg" because you once got that on a trip to grandma's. It would have a tendency to make us more honest about our actual mileage.

This is not to minimize the situations of posters to this forum who are having real, honest problems getting the gas mileage they hope for. Rather it's just an observation that:

- If every car had this mpg display, the nation's collective (mis)use of gas would probably be dimished by some amount, as people saw first-hand how their driving behavior effected mpg.
- Some people who tend to get poor hybrid mileage would realize that in their previous non-hybrid (with an mpg display), they got poor mileage
as well.