Skip to comments.Civic Hybrid owner sues Honda in small-claims court for poor gas mileage
Posted on 01/08/2012 1:08:24 PM PST by bkopto
A woman who expected her Civic Hybrid to be her dream car wants Honda to pay for not delivering the 50 mpg it promised.
But rather than joining other owners in a class-action lawsuit, Heather Peters is going solo against the automaker in small-claims court, an unusual move that could offer a bigger payout. And if successful, it could open the door to a flood of similar lawsuits.
A trial was set for Tuesday in Torrance, where American Honda has its West Coast headquarters.
Peters, a former lawyer, says that as her vehicle's battery deteriorated, it got only 30 mpg.
When Honda ignored her complaints, she filed legal papers seeking reimbursement for her trouble and the extra money she spent on gas. The suit could cost the company up to $10,000.
If other Civic owners follow her lead, she estimates Honda could be forced to pay as much as $2 billion in damages. No high-priced lawyers are involved, and the process is streamlined.
"I would not be surprised if she won," said Richard Cupp Jr., who teaches product-liability law at Pepperdine University. "The judge will have a lot of discretion, and the evidentiary standards are relaxed in small-claims court."
Small-claims courts generally handle private disputes that do not involve large amounts of money. In many states, that means small debts, quarrels between tenants and landlords and contract disagreements.
A victory for Peters could encourage others to take the same simplified route, he said.
"There's an old saying among lawyers," Cupp said. "If you want real justice, go to small-claims court."
(Excerpt) Read more at chicoer.com ...
Please excuse this post. Posted by request of the mod because of a technical issue.
“What is the relationship of Miles Per Gallon and batterys? - tom”
When the batteries do not hold as much charge the gas engine has to run more.
Hydbrids are dumb. A direct-injected turbo-Diesel gets 45-50mpg when you buy it and it still gets 45-50mpg 10 years later.
The “hybrid” fuel economy gains depend on the ability to store energy, i.e., in the battery. As the battery degrades, so do the hybrid benefits.
Hell, my brother’s old gasoline-only Civic got better than 30 MPG.
How many miles PER GALLON OF BATTERY is that, again?
One of my buddies has a VW TDI Jetta sedan that gets 52mpg.
My Civic hatchback with manual transmission routinely got over 35 mpg. BTW, anyone here own a Honda CRZ hybrid?
“How many miles PER GALLON OF BATTERY is that, again?”
Not only that but how many $$$ will it cost to replace said battery when it completely poops out? And how will said battery be disposed of?
Hybrid cars: a solution ins search of a problem.
I think you folks are missing the point.
The plaintiff is poking a stick in the eye the tort lawyers.
Isn’t this one of the known caveats to buying a hybrid?
I hope this lady is awarded NOTHING. Do some research next time you gold digger.
I have a feeling that the car has not been in hybrid mode for a long while. So it’s just like a regular Civic lugging around hundreds of extra pounds of batteries. I’m sure there’s a data logging computer on board which would indicate this.
If it was in hybrid mode, then she deserves a settlement. Small claims is the way to go since regular court class action is nothing more than a lawyer employment exercise.
The best line in the story was the one by the shyster stating that class action shysters aren’t in it “just for the money. They believe that they are representing the underdog.” LOL.
The plaintiff is “a former lawyer”.
Well, aren't you nice.
Yep! No lawyers allowed to represent either side in a small-claims court.
>>Please excuse this post. Posted by request of the mod because of a technical issue.<<
You better get at least 30 posts per gratuitous mod (PGM).
Back in the 1980s I had a girlfriend who owned 1983 4-door Civic that I used to drive all the time. I would routinely get over 40 miles per gallon (I got 44 mpg once on a trip from Granada Hills, CA to Yosemite Valley.) That’s why I laugh when I hear stories like this. If the statists would just leave well enough alone the free-market would have kept cars like that around and improved on them.
No but someone drives one to visit my neighbor across the street.
It is a fantastically magnificent looking car
I had heard about this before but didn’t know it was a stupid hybrid. I routinely see hybrids pulled over halfway up the mountain as they stop to re-charge their batteries so they can make it up over the top.
Not at all surprising. A hybrid car in non-hybrid mode gets very bad MPG because:
a: extra weight from batteries
b: the (gasoline) engine in a hybrid is typically smaller and less powerful than the engine in a non-hybrid car which means it will have to work a lot harder when the electric-motor is not helping, causing it to consume a lot more gas than a more powerful engine would.
Especially the second point is easily demonstrated by driving aggressively, on a track for instance. A hybrid will get worse MPG than a sports-car because it's just not optimized for it. Top-gear did a funny segment on this when they pitted a Prius against a BMW M3 on a track and the M3 got lower fuel-consumption.
A lot of people don't realize this however. A hybrid does not magically get you better MPG, it just enables a different driving style that, when executed properly, will improve mileage.
Bingo. And to make matters worse, the system may be trying to recharge the dead battery (which no longer holds a charge), thus wasting more gas running the electric generator.
I had a ‘88 Honda CRX that got 50 miles a gallon easily - off of gas.
Never could figure out why everyone gets so excited about hybrids that get 40-45mpg.
Sometimes I wish I still had that CRX now!
I have never experienced this, and I have made many trips SF to Tahoe, and routine trips Central Calley (CA) to San Francisco, as fast or as slow as I like.
You got steeper highways somewhere? Oh Yes, that would be a 2003 Prius, with 93,000 miles on it.
Maybe you're talking about Obama's GM or Ford models?
is ethanol a factor?????????
We do have steep but also very windy roads. Accelerating out of curves takes a lot of power too. The combination is a real battery drain.
If you don’t know what you’re getting into with a hybrid then it’s your fault.
..kinda like signing a mortgage you can’t afford.
OK, Mr. Know-it-all. Where does it explicitly say this on the Honda website or in their product literature?
Something I've long wondered about was why nobody has used the diesel locomotive paradyme, where an auto would have a smaller diesel motor than would be required for the car, which actually supplies power to an electric motor, which drives the car.
The very first Honda civics imported to America got FIFTY MPG! I bought a 1980 Pontiac Phoenix with 2.5 liter four cylinder and a four speed manual transmission with overdrive and it would do 34 MPG on the interstate running seventy miles an hour with four passengers and a trunk full of luggage, it wasn’t a dragster but it had all the power I ever wanted. In fact when I first got it I had a hard time shifting into second without making the tires chirp. I don’t understand why we can’t have higher gas mileage today. Ford had an F-150 pickup with a 300 cubic inch six and manual trans with overdrive that was EPA rated at 29! The old Volkswagen Rabbit diesel was a fifty MPG vehicle back in the seventies.
“A hybrid does not magically get you better MPG, it just enables a different driving style that, when executed properly, will improve mileage.”
I have pushed a Mercury Grand Marquis to 31.4 miles per gallon over 440 miles by careful driving. The first thing people need to learn if they want better mileage is to stop using cruise control, it is OK on flat roads but if there are any hills to speak of cruise kills your mileage! All the “experts” who tell people to always use cruise on the open road are full of garbage, even a simple pull out throttle of the sort that a 1950 pickup truck had would give far better mileage. Learning how to drive for maximum mileage is worth more than most people can even comprehend. Then we need to stop with the stupid methanol.
Energy is lost when you convert it from one form to another. In the case of diesel locomotives, this is necessary to produce the very high torque you get from the electric motors that move them. In cars, it is simply more efficient to directly drive the car from gasoline combustion, rather than have the engine drive a generator to create electricity which then is used to drive the car.
I have wondered, however, how the numbers would play out if you used a high efficiency gas turbine engine rather than a standard ICE. That would bring with it other issues though...
Two points on why she will lose: 1)The figures are identified as estimates, not guaranteed results; 2)Honda is not the source of the estimates, they are determined by tests done by the federal government.
Also, a while back Popular Mechanics did some testing which revealed that, within reason, accelerating faster up to cruising speed used less gas than the traditional "drive as if there's an egg between your foot and the pedal" advice.
And yes, get rid of the damn ethanol, and while you're at it, get rid of the crappy winter blend gasoline which drops mileage by 5% to 10%.
It varies by make, vehicle weight, engine size and gearing. I had a GMC Acadia that got its best mileage by drivng like a slug. It was a heavy, large vehicle with an electronic six speed transaxle. Programming favored rapid upshifts under light acceleration. I’ve got a Corolla that just doesn’t seem to care how it’s driven, consistent 34 mpg unless it’s all highway speeds and no stop and go, then it’s closer to 40. I’ve got a Sube GT wagon that gets much worse mileage trying to nurse it along. Just accelerate normally, even fairly briskly, and maintain speed as much as possible. Mechanical drag from the AWD I guess, 28 mpg. You can get single digits with it if you keep your foot in it and it stays in boost, though.
Anytime you transform energy from one type to another you incur losses. The Diesel engine converts chemical to kinetic energy with great losses (~50%). If you then convert the kinetic to electric you get even more losses. You then convert electric back to kinetic, even more losses.
Locomotives do it for 2 reasons. They need instantaneous torque to move all that weight from a standstill and they need to be able to shift while under load, so designing a traditional gearbox for the diesel engine is pretty difficult. An electric motor gives you instantaneous torque and needs no gearbox. So they trade the conversion losses for the 2 gained benefits. But if you made a car with this concept you would get even worse gas mileage than this poor deluded Honda owner.
Yeah..show me in the article where it mentions anything about the battery expiring before the warranty, or how many miles are on the vehicle? It doesn’t.
All the story conveyed was that the battery deteriorated and she lost gas mileage.(well.. yeah!) I don’t get the same gas mileage out of my Civic that I got 9 years ago.
Anyway...of course I had to click on her website link that is provided in the story and was able to read some of the emails. If those emails are true, then it appears Honda refused to replace the battery all together; they said they couldn’t reverse the software update.
So yeah that sucks for her, and I now have a different opinion.
>>And how will said battery be disposed of?
It will almost certainly be recycled. Scrap value is too high for any other outcome to be likely.
Yeah, there were Hondas and Geos in the 80s?-90s? that got over 50 mpg. At a hell of a lot less money than these cars today.
All is well. Jim Rob took care of the problem.
Well explained. For optimum fuel mileage, do not move the gas pedal. This means that you will be going downhill at 70 MPH (r whatever you think you can get away with), and uphill at maybe 50. Fellow drivers will not love you, but you will be surprised at the mileage you can get.
Aaron Jacoby, a Los Angeles attorney who heads the automotive industry group at the Arent Fox law firm, said Peters’ strategy, while intriguing, is unlikely to change the course of class-action litigation.
“In the class-action, the potential claimants don’t have to do anything,” Jacoby said. “It’s designed to be an efficient way for a court to handle multiple claims of the same type.”
He also questioned her criticism of lawyers’ fees. Jacoby said class-action lawyers do extensive work that involves many clients and sometimes spans years. And they are not in it just for money.
“They’re representing the underdog, and they believe they are performing a public duty,” he said. “Many of these people could not get lawyers to represent them individually.”
Wahhhhhooooo That’s the funniest thing I ever read.
Lawyers aren’t in it for the money. LMAO, This guy should go on TV he is a great comedian.
Of course, if it’s in the gas. Reduces mileage by about 10 percent.
In attempting a pure mechanical transmission there is also the vexing problem of transferring all that power and torque to the axles which are moving with at least 4 degrees of freedom. A little like the challenge of a front wheel drive auto, but much magnified.
The Germans (Krauss-Maffei) made a Diesel-hydraulic hybrid locomotive for a time; this was another viable solution for the transmission of diesel power to multiple axles. It was tried in the US for a little while, but they decided to stay with diesel-electric, because it's what they knew best.
Doesn't work that way in some states.
That is called a series hybrid. The Chevy Volt does that, except in severe conditions where the engine is directly linked to the transmission. Most of the time, it only drives a generator which feeds the batteries and thereby the electric motor.
While it is true that conversions of energy entail losses, it is also true that a gasoline engine is very inefficient when it has to push a variable load as all regular automobiles do. When it runs under a steady load, it is much more efficient — this is why your best mileage in a regular car is at moderate speeds on flat ground with no stops. A series hybrid is enough more efficient that the losses in charging the battery and driving the electric motor still result in lower fuel consumption.
It is probably a matter of scale.
Diesel electro-motive works well in industrial apps like locomotives and drilling rigs (yes, THAT is how the well is drilled) but in something as small as an automobile? Probably not.
If it did we’d have tractor trailer rigs powered that way.