This is a really cool article about hypermilers – people who’s passion is getting the best miles-per-gallon fuel consumption from their cars. As I wrote before, I think this is the kind of approach that will really get echo-friendly technology to take off, appealing to people’s sense of challenge rather their sense of guilt. And user interfaces have a lot to do with that too – the article’s main character, champion hypermiler Wayne Gerdes, explains that having a car with a real time Fuel Consumption Display was what really taught him how to save gas:
If people could see how much fuel they guzzled while driving, Wayne believes they’d quickly learn to drive more efficiently. “If the epa would mandate fcds in every car, this country would save 20 percent on fuel overnight,” he says. “They’re not expensive for the manufacturers to put in—10 to 20 bucks—and it would save more fuel than all the laws passed in the last 25 years. All from a simple display.”
The visual display doesn’t make drivers care more about the athmosphere, but it provides constant feedback that makes saving gas an instantly rewarding and learnable game. And nothing is more addictive than games.