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Old 02-02-2012, 02:56 PM   #1
shikataganai
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PWN3D Car owner wins lawsuit over Honda Civic Hybrid mileage claims

http://news.consumerreports.org/cars...-and-wins.html



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Feb 2, 2012 2:30 PM

Heather Mills took on corporate giant Honda in a southern California small-claims court over the fuel economy of her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. And she won.

A former lawyer, Mills chose not to join a class-action suit that would reportedly pay out $100-$200 per owner and include a $1,000 credit toward a new car. Instead, she presented her own case in a Torrance, California, small-claims court where judgments are limited to $10,000, and she was awarded $9,867 yesterday.

By going this path, Mills avoided paying legal fees. For contrast, she cites fees as being $8.5 million for the trail lawyers proceeding with the class-action suit. An Associated Press report quotes Mills as saying she hopes the victory will encourage other Civic Hybrid owners to follow her example, and she has set up a website to help get them started: dontsettlewithhonda.org. (Car enthusiast blog Jalopnik has posted an interesting, related piece: “How You Can Sue An Automaker In Small Claims Court And Win.”)

The core issue for Mills is that Honda had advertised the Honda Civic Hybrid as delivering 50 miles per gallon, and she did not experience that figure. Worse, she says a battery-related software update further reduced her mileage down to no better than 30 mpg.

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Old 02-02-2012, 03:08 PM   #2
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Wow, not getting the factory stated MPG......How do such things happen in this world of ours..........

It would be kind of interesting to see what evidence was submitted around the situation. I bet I could drive like an idiot and get my mileage down to low teens, so can I then expect $9,800 from Mazda?
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSubaab View Post
Wow, not getting the factory stated MPG......How do such things happen in this world of ours..........

It would be kind of interesting to see what evidence was submitted around the situation. I bet I could drive like an idiot and get my mileage down to low teens, so can I then expect $9,800 from Mazda?
I think that it isn't quite as extreme as that. Can you drive your car at top speed with all windows open, AC running, etc and get bad gas mileage? Sure.

This is more that if the car manufacturer says 50 mpg and despite your best efforts you end up with 35 mpg there is a pretty decent difference there. The fact that so many owners are complaining seems to indicate that there is a widespread issue here.

The manufacturers should be posting reasonable numbers, not some one-off number that they got under ideal conditions while coasting downhill. I believe Hyundai ran into similar issues in the past with some of their cars. They were saying 40 mpg and pretty much no one was even getting close to that in real world use. Being off a few mpg is one thing, everyone consistently being a good ways off has to lead you to believe the manufacturer claim was exaggerated.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sorbee711 View Post
I think that it isn't quite as extreme as that. Can you drive your car at top speed with all windows open, AC running, etc and get bad gas mileage? Sure.

This is more that if the car manufacturer says 50 mpg and despite your best efforts you end up with 35 mpg there is a pretty decent difference there. The fact that so many owners are complaining seems to indicate that there is a widespread issue here.

The manufacturers should be posting reasonable numbers, not some one-off number that they got under ideal conditions while coasting downhill. I believe Hyundai ran into similar issues in the past with some of their cars. They were saying 40 mpg and pretty much no one was even getting close to that in real world use. Being off a few mpg is one thing, everyone consistently being a good ways off has to lead you to believe the manufacturer claim was exaggerated.
Manufacturers don't come up with those numbers; they are done by the epa and the manufacturers are not allowed to use anything except those numbers. This seems retarded to me...
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Stretch18 View Post
Manufacturers don't come up with those numbers; they are done by the epa and the manufacturers are not allowed to use anything except those numbers. This seems retarded to me...
It seems like there is something missing then, because if that is the case the EPA should be on the hook not the manufacturers. Yet I see quite a few instances of the manufacturers being sued. So either they use non-EPA numbers or the courts are oblivious.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSubaab View Post
Wow, not getting the factory stated MPG......How do such things happen in this world of ours..........

It would be kind of interesting to see what evidence was submitted around the situation. I bet I could drive like an idiot and get my mileage down to low teens, so can I then expect $9,800 from Mazda?
You are pro false advertising. That is wonderful.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stretch18 View Post
Manufacturers don't come up with those numbers; they are done by the epa and the manufacturers are not allowed to use anything except those numbers. This seems retarded to me...
Quote:
Originally Posted by sorbee711 View Post
It seems like there is something missing then, because if that is the case the EPA should be on the hook not the manufacturers. Yet I see quite a few instances of the manufacturers being sued. So either they use non-EPA numbers or the courts are oblivious.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/how_tested.shtml

Quote:
Fuel economy is measured under controlled conditions in a laboratory using a standardized test procedure specified by federal law. Manufacturers test their own vehicles—usually pre-production prototypes—and report the results to EPA. EPA reviews the results and confirms about 10-15 percent of them through their own tests at the National Vehicles and Fuel Emissions Laboratory.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mrmojoz View Post
You are pro false advertising. That is wonderful.
If one company is responsible for variations, then everyone should be, not just Honda. It is well documented that a lot of cars do not get exactly the MPG that is listed on the sticker. As I said above, it would be interesting to see all the evidence supporting the case, as driving style, conditions, etc, can play a very big part in what kind of MPG numbers are achieved.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:33 PM   #9
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Or,


they should just put in print on the window sticker.
Your results may vary


/thread
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
Or,


they should just put in print on the window sticker.
Your results may vary


/thread
no no no

YMMV.

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Old 02-02-2012, 04:42 PM   #11
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Interestingly, my 1997 Civic with 127 horsepower yielded about the same mileage as my current Speed3 rated at over twice that power...I have never completely understood the EPA estimate methodology, but something definitely seems fishy with Honda's ratings.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:50 PM   #12
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10+ years of advancements may have something to do with that particular case.

of course

I could be wrong.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stretch18 View Post
Manufacturers don't come up with those numbers; they are done by the epa and the manufacturers are not allowed to use anything except those numbers. This seems retarded to me...
As was said the EPA doesn't test them. I think Honda did screw up on this.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post

I didn't realize that they didn't confirm every test...

themoreyouknow.jpg
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:42 PM   #15
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With regard to the actual car in question, the Civic Hybrid: I drove one for a half-day via Zipcar a few years back. With a non-lead foot I got around 23 mpg in the hills of Seattle, and slightly better than 40 mpg on the flat freeway, iirc. I can see how someone who bought the car with the pre-2008 EPA window sticker of 49/51/50 would be underwhelmed with these numbers.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
10+ years of advancements may have something to do with that particular case.

of course

I could be wrong.
Absolutely, and after re-reading my post I completely obfuscated the point I was trying to make.

Point is: my 1997 Civic had a sticker in the window stating an EPA rating of 36mpg freeway. Best I ever got was 32 and more often than not it was below 30. It just never made sense that the estimates could be so far off on my Honda, when most other cars I have owned have delivered real world mileage, with me as the driver, that is much closer to the EPA sticker. It's only one anecdote, but I've heard other anecdotes...
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:50 PM   #17
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She should be suing the people who made the test and set the test standards. It's not Honda's fault for complying to US gov regs.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:29 PM   #18
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Lawyers got $8.5 million and current owners got $1,500 off a new Honda.

Would have been better to test the cars of people who are complaining, give the difference in gas costs to the owners who aren't getting the mileage and let Honda buy back the plaintiff's car.

But common sense isn't welcome in the court system.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:38 AM   #19
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Yes that is how class action lawsuits work, but to be honest 8.5 million isn't as much as is often the case. Many times the ratio is far worse with lawyers getting like 100 million and consumers getting like $5.

@brain if they actually had done that they would not be paying out the money.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley View Post
Interestingly, my 1997 Civic with 127 horsepower yielded about the same mileage as my current Speed3 rated at over twice that power...I have never completely understood the EPA estimate methodology, but something definitely seems fishy with Honda's ratings.

It's a huge cluster****, that's why. The current method is the 5 cycle approach. Here is the actual Excel spreadsheet from the EPA used to calculate fuel economy:

http://www.epa.gov/oms/cert/dearmfr/...calculator.xls

So the manufacturers run an FTP75 warm (75F) cycle, FTP75 cold (20F) cycle, a USO6, an SC03, and the highway test.

1. The FTP75 is the "city" drive cycle that's been around for a long time, and may also be called LA-4.

2. The US06 is the high speed drive cycle, not to be confused with the highway test. This was first introduced about 10 years ago.

3. The HFET is the old "highway" test cycle that's been around for a long time.

4. The SC03 has the vehicle drive with the air conditioning on in a dyno room with very expensive heat lamps meant to simulate the effect of the sun.

There are a bunch of calculations done with certain coefficients that have all been boiled down into that spreadsheet:



the bag part refers to the sampling bags that are taken after segments of a particular test. The exhaust air is captured inside a bag using very expensive equipment. It takes millions and millions of dollars to do these tests. The EPA can change the weight of the drive cycles if they want to; it comes down to them in the end.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:19 PM   #21
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Well it comes down to them is a bit of an exaggeration IMO since the manufacturers report values and the EPA doesn't verify them unless some unusual occurrence prompts it. Also the manufacturers can fudge the cycles a little bit and still be safe on it.

It is kind of a system with feedback b/c the EPA can change the weightings and cycles to match the fuel economy people actually get, but then the manufacturers can change vehicle design to take advantage of the tests and do better. The cycle continues.
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:35 PM   #22
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Well it comes down to them is a bit of an exaggeration IMO since the manufacturers report values and the EPA doesn't verify them unless some unusual occurrence prompts it. Also the manufacturers can fudge the cycles a little bit and still be safe on it.
There are a limited ways to cheat, but it is possible. For a fuel economy test you have to stay within a certain range for the drive cycle--there's a display at the dyno that shows the vehicle speed in relation to the acceptable tolerance. You also have to have a certain amount of mileage on the car when you do the tests and you have to go through a preparation cycle beforehand.

Quote:
It is kind of a system with feedback b/c the EPA can change the weightings and cycles to match the fuel economy people actually get, but then the manufacturers can change vehicle design to take advantage of the tests and do better. The cycle continues.
That's a good way of looking at it.
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