Nutty CA Court Attacks Hybrid Cars

by CalWatchdog Staff | February 3, 2012 10:30 am

[1]John Seiler:

I’d rather walk that drive a hybrid car. After bourbon, the internal combustion engine is mankind’s greatest invention. All talk of oil “shortages” and too much “pollution” is just socialist blather used to destroy our freedoms.

But some folks like hybrids. Soon they could be paying a lot more for them thanks to a nutty decision in a California court. Reported the Huffington Post[2], Heather Peters, on Feb. 2 won “a court decision awarding her $9,867 and finding Honda misled her into thinking her Hybrid could get 50 miles per gallon. She said the 2006 model, which she still owns, gets about 30 mpg.

“Peters’ win in small claims court was a unique end run around the class action process and set the stage for others to follow suit. She sees her victory as benefiting not just Honda owners but all consumers.”

But as was noted by auto journalist Eric Peters [3](no relation to Heather), Honda and other automakers don’t establish the fuel ratings, the federal government does! Didn’t Heather and the California court know that?

Oh, wait, I forgot. This is California, where dreams are reality, common sense is uncommon and our governor is named Moonbeam.

Lawsuits Galore

Eric Peters writes, “Because while [Heather] Peters’ $9k judgment is small potatoes, the fact that she succeeded could encourage a tsunami of similar court cases that might end up costing Honda (and potentially other hybrid car sellers and so, ultimately, consumers ) a lot more than $9k.

“As Peters (a lawyer) notes, there are at least 200,000 Honda Civic hybrid owners alone. That’s just one make/model of hybrid. There are at least a dozen different hybrid vehicles on the market — and theoretically, the same case could be made against them, too….

“The government (EPA) takes a new car, then runs it through its test loop. Mileage figures are posted on the window sticker based on these tests, which are by nature subjective. Hence the caveat, in plain standard English: Your mileage will vary. Note, not may.


“The exact wording is as follows:

“ ‘Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle  (italics added).’

“And just under the big ‘best case’ mileage numbers, in smaller type, one finds a range of ‘expected mileage.’ As an example, this week I am test driving a new Fiat 500C. The ‘best case’ number is 32 MPG highway. But underneath this is a range of ‘expected mileage’ between a low of 26 MPG and an even higher high of 38 MPG.

“In other words, your mileage will vary.”

Attacking Honda

According to the Huffington Post, “But Professor Laurie Levenson of Loyola University Law School said Honda may have suffered something much worse than a possible flood of small claims actions.

“‘The worst part for Honda is they’ve been branded as committing fraud’,” she said. “That’s not good for sales. It’s a P.R. disaster and sometimes that costs more than the judgment.”

But it was the federal government that committed the fraud by establishing the Honda’s fuel usage ratings.

And how do we know how Heather Peters drove the car? To do that, you’d have to put a camera behind her head and record how heavy her high heels were stomping down on the accelerator.

Eric Peters again: “Unfortunately for Honda — and potentially every other seller of hybrid cars and perhaps cars, period —  there are a lot of people out there who cannot read and comprehend the meaning of plain English and worse, assume everything the government tells them must be true, since it’s the government that’s telling it to them. Thus, they become angry when reality disabuses them — but unfortunately, they channel their anger toward the wrong party.

“Here is the truth about the Civic hybrid — and all hybrids:

“If you drive it very gingerly, if you keep it under 50 MPH and accelerate very gradually, it is entirely possible to realize the federal government’s publicized ‘high’ MPG figures — and even to exceed them. The problem, of course, is that it is difficult to drive this way if you ever want to get anywhere — and/or have any concern about not driving your fellow drivers to fury by impeding their progress.

“There is also the problem of conditions. They, too, vary.

“A Civic hybrid that does not have to ascend 8 percent grades every day, which is not driven at high altitudes (where the air is thinner) or for months on end in 20 degree weather is going to be easier on gas than a hybrid Civic that is subjected to any one of these conditions, or to all of them. And if, say, you run around on under-inflated tires, or need of a tune-up, then once again, your actual mileage will vary. 

“So, arguably, Peters’ lawsuit was fundamentally wrongheaded — and the judgment, unjust. The court did not even try to determine how she actually drove her car, even though it is a critical piece of evidence. The only question considered was whether her car delivered the advertised mileage – notwithstanding the bold-faced caveat that the advertised mileage is for ‘comparison purposes only’ and that (wait for it) your actual mileage will vary.”

So the whole hybrid thing is another fraud the government has perpetrated upon us. And it’s just going to get worse, thanks to federal regulators and the unjust California “justice” system.

Feb. 3, 2012



  1. [Image]:
  2. Reported the Huffington Post:
  3. noted by auto journalist Eric Peters :

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