Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Honda May Have Dodged Bullet On Fuel Economy Lawsuits

Honda may have dodged a big bullet today when a circuit court judge reversed a small claims court ruling that found the company responsible for lying about its fuel economy on its hybrid vehicles. The plaintiff in that case had claimed that Honda misrepresented its fuel economy and won nearly $10,000.
Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray II ruled Tuesday on Honda's appeal of a small-claims court commissioner's award of $9,867 to Civic owner Heather Peters.

Peters opted out of a class-action settlement giving some 200,000 owners between $100 and $200 each, plus a rebate if they buy a new Honda, electing instead to sue the automaker on her own.

Gray's ruling found, among other things, that while Peters had standing to bring the case in state court, federal regulations govern fuel economy ratings posted on vehicles and advertising claims related to them. The ruling also said that most owners of that type of car achieve fuel economy close to federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
Considering that the automakers and EPA sets the fuel economy estimates for the vehicles according to their testing procedures, the mileage figures relate to how those tests are conducted.

Real world driving isn't like those tests. Fuels used in the real world also affect fuel economy. Invariably, the real world driving results will be lower than the fuel economy figures listed on the sticker.

If you can get within 10% of the mileage figures with your current driving style, you'd be doing well. But, if you want to truly improve your vehicle's fuel economy, you'd have to consider driving with hypermiling in mind. Adhering to those kinds of techniques can get mind-boggling levels of fuel economy.

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