July 06, 2007

Hybrid Owners Disilusioned

Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.

I wrote about the inflated MPG of Hybrids a couple years ago, with the
Japanese companies using the outdated EPA's tests for establishing
MPG while the American companies use the EPA's tests plus their own
real world tests to determine MPG.

So now that Hybrid owners of Japanese cars are not getting the outragious
mileages that are on the stickers they are pissed
, because they are
getting mileage more closer to small non-hybrid vehicles yet paid thousands
more the "hybrid" badge on the vehicle.

Facing $3-a-gallon gasoline prices in California last year, John True decided to stop driving his Mercedes-Benz E320 and bought a Honda Civic Hybrid.

Impressed by the gas-electric hybrid's advertised mileage -- 49 miles
per gallon in the city, 51 mpg on the highway -- True plunked down
$28,470, at least $7,000 more for a comparable nonhybrid Civic EX.

But after 6,000 miles of driving, True said he averaged 32 mpg in
mixed city/highway driving.

$7,000 more for a hybrid vehicle. I hope he did the math before he wasted
all that extra money. You have to know how many years you will keep the vehicle
and how much you will drive it to see if you are spending more money just to
get better mileage or not.

True's frustration with the actual mileage of his hybrid vs. the advertised mileage echoes that of other owners, many of whom voice their complaints on online message boards, and reflects the findings of some independent tests, including one by Consumer Reports.
Honda and others note that EPA tests, which hadn't been revised in two decades, have overstated average fuel economy for all vehicles. Last year, the EPA announced it was revising its testing procedures to better reflect real world driving conditions, beginning with the 2008 model year.

"I can tell you that the 49/51 figures are EPA numbers, not Honda
numbers," Honda spokesman Sage Marie said Thursday. "Some customers
achieve the EPA mpg figures and some don't, as fuel economy
performance is a function of conditions, traffic, driving style,
load, etc."

He said the "vast majority of Civic Hybrid customers are satisfied
with the performance since it delivers consistently and substantially
higher numbers than comparable nonhybrid vehicles in the real world.
It is possible to attain the EPA estimates, and customers do all the

So Honda is blaming the EPA for the unrealistic MPG numbers, yet Honda
isn't forced to put those numbers on the vehicle. They could have done
their own testing and put lower numbers on the sticker. But with the inflated
numbers it makes their hybrids look better than American hybrids who do use
a realistic number on their stickers. Studies have been done showing that
American Hybrids MPG numbers on their stickers actually reflect true MPG numbers
while Japanese Hybrids MPG numbers on their stickers are very inflated, usually
by more than 35%.

In an interview Thursday, Anderson said True's legal team will now begin the process of discovery, in an effort to determine how many complaints Honda has received and what the automaker's internal mileage testing shows.

"It's just dishonest to twist the numbers that they know people can't
get," Anderson said. Just because the EPA conducts tests, it doesn't
give Honda license to advertise fuel economy numbers that aren't
achievable, he said.

So, Honda has done internal testing and knows that they can't achieve what
the EPA tests shows that they can achieve.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this is.

Posted by Quality Weenie at July 6, 2007 07:49 AM | TrackBack

I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I always learn so much more than I would have found out otherwise.

I have to admit, I love my Pathfinder (now almost 10 years old) and have felt guilty the ONE time I had to pay over $3 a gallon. And seriously started to consider what my "breaking" line would be when I'd trade in my beloved 4 door, V6 for something more "eco-friendly" and do a hybrid vehicle.

But now seeing that the truth is not in the numbers, I'll happily continue to drive Jessie for as long as I possibly can. She does just fine by me! :)

Thanks so much!

Posted by: Lee Ann at July 6, 2007 10:34 AM

I will drive my 2000 Grand Cherokee ['Liz'] until the doors fall off. She's got a clear title and causes very little trouble, even though her transmission needs work.

Gotta say, it does my heart good to see all the rich and famous folks driving around in little Toyotas and Hondas.... ;)

Posted by: pam at July 6, 2007 11:07 AM

I'm driving my Suburban until it's completely undrive-able. It does get sucky gas mileage, but my family of six is safe, and you don't need a haz-mat team to respond to an accident, like you do with many of these eco-friendly cars.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at July 6, 2007 11:55 AM