A recent mini-scandal reveals what many drivers have long suspected: The gas mileage claims listed prominently on the windows of new cars can be overstated. Unfortunately, this may not be an isolated incident.
The acronym “EPA” is featured on the mpg ratings of new car stickers, but the Environmental Protection Agency does not conduct fuel economy tests on all vehicles. Instead, according to the Associated Press, how things work is that automakers do their own tests, and “the EPA enforces accuracy by auditing about 15 percent of vehicles annually.” Obviously, this system opens up the possibility that automakers could be inflating their vehicle mpg ratings, purposefully or “by accident.”
After receiving complaints from drivers about the fuel economy of the 2012 Hyundai Elantras, the EPA conducted an audit, which exposed the fact that the majority of 2012 and 2013 Hyundai and Kia models had inaccurate, inflated mileage ratings. For most of the affected cars, sticker ratings had to be lowered by a mere 1 mpg or 2 mpg. The Kia Soul Eco, however, is now rated at 29 mpg on the highway, down 6 mpg from the 35 mpg that used to be listed on the window. That’s quite a bump, one that’ll be noticed by drivers who take fuel economy into consideration when choosing a new car—and who doesn’t do so nowadays?
A California woman’s small claims court victory against Honda could have a huge impact on the global auto giant.
On Wednesday, Honda was ordered to pay Heather Peters for misleading her about the gas mileage her Civic Hybrid would achieve, and other car owners could follow in the steps of the former lawyer who took on a corporate giant, and won.
“I couldn’t be happier, I couldn’t be more excited,” Peters said of her legal victory.
To many, the complaint that her 2006 hybrid failed to get the advertised 50 miles per gallon seemed like just another frivolous lawsuit.
After making a software updated recommended by Honda to try and improve her mileage, she says it got even worse, struggling to even achieve 30 miles per gallon.
So Peters took on the automaker in small claims court, dropping out of several class action suits that offered dissatisfied customers a couple hundred dollars each. Peters argued her own case.
“I decided to go it alone, Judge Judy-style,” she tells CBS News.
A Superior Court commissioner sided with Peters, awarding her almost $10,000 on Wednesday, and citing Honda for misleading language that promised, “plenty of horsepower while still sipping fuel.”