You drive like crap and you know it. Stop the burnouts, late braking and 100-mph freeway sprint and you just might make a tank of gas last longer than a day. Sure, automakers like Ford could spend a few million on lectures to teach car buyers a thing or two about better driving. But if you didn't get it in Driver's Ed, you're not likely to get it now. Instead, Ford's new Smart Gauge will teach better driving through rewards. Do a better job controlling your right foot, and Smart Guage adds a green leaf to a display next to the speedo. The better you do, the more leaves you get. Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of hybrid-vehicle programs, tells The Wall Street Journal, "You don't have to count the leaves. But if you're in a forest of leaves, you'll know you're doing well."

You can also grow your Virtual Dash Tree™ for a chance to defeat the boss monster on the final level and, if successful, Smart Gauge will reward drivers with Fordelicious Fruit™, which you can trade for Microsoft Points that can be used to pay for your Sync subscription. No. Not really.

Ford is expected to announce the Smart Gauge today and it will initially be available on the hybrid versions of 2010 Mercury Milans and Ford Fusions.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]

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