Heather Peters, a Los Angeles resident, sued American Honda Motor Co. over misleading fuel consumption figure of her 2006 Civic Hybrid and won the case.
Honda claimed that the hybrid model could achieve as much as 50 miles per gallon. However, peters claimed that her Civic achieved far less than that. At the best, she could only manage 42 mpg and after receiving a software update to improve performance, fuel economy went down further to 30 mpg. The court commissioner of the Los Angeles Small Claims Court awarded her US $9867.19 in damages, which is near the maximum $10,000 allowed in small-claims court.
Her victory was considered precedent setting, and legal experts said it could open the floodgates for similar cases. But it could also be one that is short-lived. In a written statement, Honda said it plans to appeal the decision. "We disagree with the judgment rendered in this case, and we plan to appeal the decision," Honda said. In appealing, Honda could take the case to superior court, where it would be allowed to use its lawyers in arguing the case. In small claims court, the California law prohibits either side from using legal representation.
The fuel economy rating that Honda advertises is set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The figure is posted on the website www.fueleconomy.gov. The ratings are set according to tests that some criticize as not reflecting real-world driving. In Singapore, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) has a similar rule which states that registrable goods must carry energy labels under the Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA). The fuel consumption of all cars sold in Singapore can be found at the website http://app.nea.gov.s...sub.asp?cid=267. However, like Peters, I believe most of the drivers here do not achieve the fuel efficiency figure as stated in the NEA website. But I think winning such a case in Singapore would be much harder.