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Does Your Car Get Less MPG than Advertised? – Small Claims Court as an Environmental Litigation Option

| Feb 6, 2012 | Environmental Litigation |

Have you purchased an automobile based on its advertised fuel economy?  Have you found that when you actually take the car out on the road the average gas mileage is much less than advertised?  If so, you might be able to sue your automobile manufacturer in small claims court for misleading advertising.  The attorneys at Chenoweth Law Group can help you assess your environmental litigation options, and then help you prepare the evidence and arguments necessary to argue a small claims court case. 

Recently, a California woman successfully sued Honda in small claims court for misleading her regarding the gas mileage her 2006 Civic Hybrid vehicle would achieve.  When Heather Peters — a former lawyer — purchased her car, the vehicle was advertised as getting up to 50 miles per gallon (mpg). On the road, however, Peters’ hybrid achieved far less fuel economy than predicted, struggling at times to even break 30 mpg.  Instead of remaining a party to larger class action suits offering similarly dissatisfied customers $200/claim and other rebates, Peters decided to withdraw from the class action process and take on Honda herself in small claims court.

Although the suit at first seemed frivolous to many, Peters recently prevailed in a California Superior Court, winning nearly $10,000 in a judgment against Honda.  Honda plans to appeal, and will argue that advertised fuel economy standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), not them.  Although Peters’ judgment is largely inconsequential to Honda and other car manufacturers standing alone, if the judgment is upheld on appeal, auto manufacturers might be faced with similar lawsuits brought by car owners around the country. 

Thus, if you have purchased a vehicle that has achieves less-than-advertised fuel economy and are interested in learning more about your environmental litigation options, please call Chenoweth Law Group at 253-200-5991 to schedule a consultation.