Putting the windows down did not change mileage enough for Consumer Reports and Edmunds to measure any change in MPG. So, that's a myth. There is SOME gas savings and putting down the window does not burn a lot of gas. I guess the real question is how did the government get 25 percent reduction in mileage by turning on the AC? The AC on the car must have looked like this :D
I like AC and I hate the noise when I open the window. There are a lot more gadgets in cars today like GPS, DVD etc. It does take energy to recharge the battery. I am a big fan of recharging your battery with solar devices. I say have two batteries one for the engine and another for everything else. People could charge the batteries that powers the AC and radio etc by plugging it in at night.
Actually, now that I think about it, scratch that. Lots of people might not plug-in PHEVs. I doubt they would go through the hassle of independently charging the battery for the AC, heat, radio, etc. Okay, maybe hypermillers would do it. It might be cool if the car companies came up with hyper miler, bare bones edition of cars with little features like that. I would buy one. Even if it's a lower MPG car vs a hybrid.