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Posts Tagged ‘hybrid mileage’

Consumer Reports Blasts Honda Accord Hybrid MPG Claim

Latest hybrid to be faulted for overly optimistic mileage ratings.

by on May.29, 2014

The Honda Accord Hybrid was redesigned for 2014.

The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is the latest among a growing list of gas-electric models to take hits for what critics contend are overly optimistic and misleading mileage claims.

It’s not the first time Honda has been faulted for its hybrid mileage ratings – an estimated 47 mpg on the 2014 Accord version – but it’s far from alone, Ford last year lowering its own numbers for the Fusion C-Max that initially also had a 47 mpg rating.

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But most manufacturers have been sticking by their fuel economy numbers, which are based on testing by the Environmental Protection Agency, despite concerns that the industry has been “gaming” the system by tuning vehicles to maximize results in those tests while delivering lower results in real-world driving.

“We’ve found that the EPA tests often exaggerate the fuel economy of hybrids,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.


Over Half of New Vehicles Now Deliver at Least 23 MPG

One in nine now top 30 MPG, according to new study.

by on Apr.29, 2014

The Nissan Altima is one of a growing list of vehicles delivering better than 23 mpg - often more than 30 miles per gallon.

Despite the resurgence of full-size pickups, SUVs and muscle cars, American car buyers are getting better fuel economy than ever before, over half of the vehicles sold this year delivering over 23 mpg, according to a new study, with one in nine topping 30 mpg.

Even some traditional gas guzzlers are now yielding mileage once considered a stretch for small cars, industry and government data reveals, though automakers still face a stretch achieving the 54.5 mpg target facing them in 2025, observers warn.

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“This has been remarkable,” said Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America, which has been tracking fuel economy trends for over a decade.  After years of relatively stagnant mileage, the increased federal fuel economy rules passed in 2005 have been paying off, he said, calling it a “great example” of how industry can respond to mandates backed by public support.


Ford Fix Aimed at Boosting Lagging Hybrid Mileage

Free software update could resolve concerns about lower-than-promised fuel economy.

by on Jul.17, 2013

Ford hopes to reduce concerns about the real-world mileage of hybrids like its C-Max people-mover.

Ford has come up with a software update it will offer owners of more than 77,000 of its hybrid vehicles that it says should reduce the “variability” of the fuel economy they’re getting.

That’s a cautious way of saying the fix should boost mileage that, in many cases, has been lagging well behind the figures found on the Munroney, or window, stickers of a number of Ford gas-electric models, such as the new Fusion and C-Max Hybrids. The shortfall has generated sharp criticism – and at least several pending lawsuits.

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“We want satisfied customers,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s director of Global Product Development, adding that the maker “determined we could bring (fuel economy improvements) to vehicles already in the market.”


New Toyota Avalon Hybrid to Hit 40 MPG

Compact fuel economy from full-size sedan.

by on Jul.12, 2012

The 2013 Avalon will be the first of the big Toyota sedans to get a hybrid drivetrain.

Who says big cars have to get low mileage?  The EPA has given Toyota’s newly redesigned 2013 Avalon sedan a 40 mpg rating, about what much smaller cars as the Hyundai Elantra are getting.

The asterisk is that the newly approved rating covers the 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, one of several different powertrain options that will be offered when the new sedan reaches market later this year – and likely at a significant price premium over the Avalon’s conventional, gas-powered alternative.

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Nonetheless, Toyota is betting it will generate some serious buzz with that sort of figure at a time when fuel economy has become the number one consideration for a large swath of American new car buyers.

The 40 mpg number is for the EPA’s City and Combined cycle tests, the Avalon will get 39 miles to the gallon on the Highway, according to the federal test cycle.  One needs recall that hybrids break the traditional rules and do better in stop-and-go driving that helps them recharge their batteries.


California Woman Aims to Sink Honda Class Action Settlement

Heather Peters fought and won in small claims court.

by on Mar.16, 2012

Heather Peters with her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid prior to last month's small claims trial..

After taking on Honda and winning a judgment over the inflated mileage claims for her Honda Civic Hybrid, a Southern California woman now hopes to derail a class action suit that would provide other owners just a fraction of the compensation she was awarded in small claims court.

Honda has been under fire for advertising significantly better fuel economy than it allegedly knew motorists would get with the Civic Hybrid sold between 2003 and 2009.  A proposed settlement covering 200,000 owners is now waiting for a final decision by Superior Court Judge Timothy Peters.  Until recently, it appeared likely the agreement would be accepted, but Peters shook things up last month when she decided to go it alone using the small claims process.

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The former corporate attorney – one of 1,700 Honda hybrid who opted out of the class action process — was awarded $9,867.  By comparison, the proposed settlement would provide owners $100 to $200 and a coupon good for a discount if they returned to buy another Honda.


More Headaches for Honda Over Hybrid Mileage Gap

Judge delays class action settlement while opposition mounts.

by on Feb.17, 2012

A judge delayed a decision on a class action lawsuit involving older Honda Civic Hybrids.

Honda’s hybrid mileage headaches may soon get a lot worse as a California judge considers whether to accept, reject or revise a class action settlement in a case filed by owners frustrated that their Civic Hybrid models failed to get nearly the mileage the maker original claimed.

The attorneys-general from five states, including California and Texas, have asked for more time to consider a proposed settlement that would provide owners with as little as $100 in cash – and a discount on another Honda – while plaintiffs’ attorneys would pocket millions.

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The delay was sought in the wake of a verdict in a separate California case in which Heather Peters was awarded $9,867 to cover higher fuel costs and a lower trade-in value on her 2006 Civic Hybrid.  A former corporate attorney, Peters took her case to small claims to protest the proposed class action settlement – and to show other owners there were alternatives to the proposed settlement.


Average Auto’s Fuel Economy Rising Fast

Hybrids the only segment where mileage dropped.

by on Feb.07, 2012

The mileage of the average diesel -- like this Porsche Cayenne diesel -- rose almost 10 mpg since 2008, according to a new study.

After years of little growth, the fuel economy of the typical new car sold in the U.S. is now rising rapidly, according to a new study that found that new vehicles are getting an average 14% better mileage than just four years ago.

For all 2012 light-duty vehicles. including cars, pickup trucks, minivans, vans and SUVs, the average miles per gallon is 21.5, compared to 18.9 mpg for model year 2008 vehicles, according to a new study by the University of Michigan. The averages were 21.2 for 2011, 20.7 for 2010 and 19 for 2009, the study said.

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That figure is an average of all the vehicles on the road but when weighted to reflect actual market demand, the shift away from large, gas-guzzling trucks to smaller, more efficient passenger cars and crossover, the shift is even more obvious, raising the average by another one to two miles per gallon.

The typical car sold in 2011 got 22.5 mpg, up from 20.8 mpg as recently as 2008.


Honda Settles Lawsuit Over Hybrid Mileage

But some claim settlement offers little for frustrated owners.

by on Dec.15, 2009

A proposed settlement for low fuel economy would require owners to trade in on new Hondas - but not hybrids.

A proposed settlement for low fuel economy would require owners to trade in on new Hondas - but not hybrids.

Few buyers expect to get the mileage that automakers advertise.  The figures printed in ads and on so-called Monroney window stickers are calculated using a strict government test process that traditionally didn’t seem to have much bearing on real-world performance.

But how much is too much?  That’s the question the courts were asked to decide when a group of owners decided to file a class action suit against Honda contending that their Civic hybrids were yielding just 31 mpg, not the 49 City, 51 Highway ratings the automaker promoted.

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The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, names two plaintiffs but also covers 120,000 other owners of 2003 through 2008 Honda Civic Hybrids.  While Honda dismisses the claims – it says it relied on government data, as do its competitors – and insists it has done nothing wrong, the automaker is nonetheless offering up a settlement.  But not one many people seem to like.