I saw a piece on GMA the other morning about "hypermiling", which is basically trying to maximize your gas mileage. Some of the tips I remember:
1. Inflate your tires to their max allowable level
2. Coast when possible
3. Avoid quick accelerations
4. Don't speed
5. Turn car off when not moving (or even when moving, although they mentioned that this wasn't really advised!)
There are more, but this is what I remember. Since I got my hybrid 2 years ago, I have become a little bit obsessed with my mileage, so I decided to give these tips a try during my commute. (about 25 minutes, most of which is highway). I basically paid more attention to #2, because my car does some of the other things for me - it turns off when I'm stopped (which freaks my mom out because she forgets and thinks I've run out of gas or something), and it uses an electric assist when I am accelerating (unlike the Toyota technology), so actually, I think I do better when I accelerate rather quickly to get to my desired speed. Anyhow, I was about halfway through the tank of gas when I started, and I was getting 40.8 mpg, which is not great for me, but I've had the A/C on for Owen's sake. Today when I got home I was at 42.8 mpg. So I've improved two mpg in a few days, and its harder to budge the overall mileage when I'm well into a tank of gas. We'll see how I do on my next fill up.
Its fun, because its kind of like a video game. And you know how I like the video games (I finished FFXII this weekend btw. And I cried a little bit at the ending. How freaking lame am I?).
It is true that there is a learning curve to driving a hybrid. When I first got my car, I was averaging 37 mpg on each tank, and now I usually average 42-43 (without my A/C).