Mandatory mpg meters?

Does it make sense to install a mpg gauge in all new cars?

MPG Meter
MPG Meter

(Or a gallons per 100 miles meter?)

Would people drive more efficiently with instant feedback? Have early warning of maintenance problems? Always drive the car that uses less gas when there is a passenger? Disable it as soon as possible?

What reason do you have to use/reject a mandatory mpg meter?

4 Responses to “Mandatory mpg meters?”

  1. JMG says:

    Yes, it makes huge sense to require this. LOTS of studies document that feedback is always the cheapest and one of the most effective ways to reduce consumption; in fact, in many studies, simply providing feedback with NO OTHER INTERVENTION AT ALL causes waste to drop significantly.

    To ask this question is to answer it. Of COURSE this should be required. What possible argument is there for NOT doing so?

  2. Karen Street says:

    JMG, I would love to see the studies, or at least one or two.

    The only person I’ve asked so far (I hope to ask several people to see what they think) predicts that we’ll tune these out just like we tune out Prop 65 signs everywhere we go, including the store, schools, you name it.

    Prop 65 signs are everywhere in California!
    Prop 65 signs are everywhere in California!

    Other views?

  3. JMG says:

    Static signs are different. They become invisible within about 30 days. But a feedback system tied to changing behavior is much less likely to become so.

    For pointers to the behavioral studies, join the “Fostering Sustainable Behavior” listserv and ask about. The folks who run that are big into figuring out how to (surprise) foster sustainable behavior.

  4. JMG says:

    Further lead on studies (this was posted to the FSB listserv today:

    The energy efficiency industry is trying to bridge the gap between academics and practitioners.

    Last year industry folks organized a new conference – Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference. At this event those of us involved in promoting energy efficiency and energy conservation are hoping to learn from behavioral scientists and others. (More info on this conference at

    Kathy Kuntz
    Director – Energy Programs
    Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation
    608-249-9322 x 278