It’s hard to change your behavior if your are not aware of the impact of your actions. This is true on a large scale and on a small scale.
The Prius has a display that graphically shows current mileage, average mileage since the last refill, and average mileage over the last five minutes, in bright yellow bars. It’s kind of hard to not know what your mileage is. And it’s also kind of fun to optimize. When the car is coasting, running on battery only, or charging, the current mileage bar jumps up to a maximum height (> 100 mpg), and in the right traffic conditions you can run for a good long time without using any additional gas — last week we went for 20 minutes. I initially thought this display was a complete gimmick that was only on and would only be used by the sales person.
But it’s not a gimmick. The mileage display is always on (by my choice). This display of information is part of the reason the car gets good mileage, because I adjust my driving behavior based on the feedback I get from it. This has nothing to do with the Hybrid engine — other vehicles have the same display, and I suspect the same outcome.
A few years ago, I lived my life blindly unaware of many aspects of my impact on the world. Well, that’s not entirely true, but over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of how all the bits fit together. The more I know, the more I see things I have never seen before. Awareness raises further awareness.