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Lies, Damned Lies and Fuel Economy Numbers

Think you’re really going to get 40 MPG?

by on Jan.04, 2012

Heather Peters with her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid.

Heather Peters was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore.  So she decided to take Honda to court, alleging that the Japanese maker sold her a car it knew wasn’t likely to get anywhere near the mileage she had been promised.

In a case commanding national attention, former corporate attorney Peters is now waiting for a decision from a small claims court in suburban Los Angeles that could award her as much as $10,000 – though she claims Honda actually defrauded her to the tune of $122,112 by convincing her to buy a 2006 Civic Hybrid.

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“The sales force said 50 miles per gallon, but they didn’t say if you run your air conditioning and you remain in stop-and-go traffic, you’re going to get 29 to 30 miles per gallon,” said the 46-year-old Peters prior to the trial. “If they did, I would have gotten the regular Civic.”

Peters isn’t alone.  A number of manufacturers have been hit with criticism and, in some cases, with class action lawsuits, contending that the numbers they promote in window stickers and in advertisements are far more optimistic than buyers should expect.