Should We Be Able to Sue Automakers if We Don't Achieve Their Claimed Gas Mileage?

With the consistently rising gas prices many consumers have been flocking to hybrid powered vehicles, only to later find out that they do not achieve the same gas mileage as the window sticker states. This has been a major problem and will hopefully change with the new 2008 EPA changes.

But for some of us, these changes to the way that the EPA determines a vehicle’s gas mileage can not come soon enough. John True recently traded in a Mercedes-Benz E320 for a Honda Civic Hybrid. He was so impressed by the claimed mpg rating of 49 city and 51 highway that he forked over $28,470 for the hybrid.

After driving the car for about 6,000 miles True determined that he was only acheiving 32 mpg, which is way below what Honda claims that the Civic Hybrid can acheive. He was so mad about the false claims, that True filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Riverside, California against Honda for false claims about the Civic Hybrid.

According to the The Detroit News, this is the first legal lawsuit against an automaker for false mileage claims. The lawsuit claims that Honda mislead consumers in its advertisements and on its website.

“This case does seek relief for tens of thousands of consumers like Mr. True, who purchased the HCH expecting to benefit from its ‘remarkable’ fuel efficiency, and paid thousands of dollars extra for an HCH that looks identical and performs basically the same as the non-hybrid Honda Civic,” said a June 4 court filing.

“I can tell you that the 49/51 figures are EPA numbers, not Honda numbers,” Honda spokesman Sage Marie said Thursday. “Some customers achieve the EPA mpg figures and some don’t, as fuel economy performance is a function of conditions, traffic, driving style, load, etc.”

The new 2008 EPA tests will drop city fuel economy estimates for all vehicles by 12 percent and 8 percent on the highway.

A car’s gas mileage is dependent on many variables, which includes how the driver drives, the conditions they are driving in, etc. Many people forget that if they drive their vehicles harder than normal, they will not even come close to the gas mileage that an automaker is claiming.

Full Story: The Detroit News

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