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Honda’s mpg ruling reversed

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Monday, May 14, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

Honda has gotten a reversal of the high-profile small claims court decision that it misled consumers about the fuel economy in its Honda Civic hybrid car in its advertising.

Earlier this year, plaintiff Heather Peters took her case to California small claims court after opting out of a class-action lawsuit when she learned that Civic hybrid owners would receive $100-$200 each and a $1,000 coupon toward the purchase of a new car in the suit. In the suit, Peters, who still owns her 2006 Honda Civic hybrid, was awarded $9867.19 in damages for battery costs, diminished value of the car and additional gas costs, both past and future. Honda immediately appealed the decision, saying it was following federal regulations for stating fuel economy.

Earlier this week, a California superior court judge reversed the decision, saying in his ruling that Honda's advertising slogans regarding fuel economy, which included that the cars use "amazingly little fuel" and that owners could save "plenty of money on fuel," were not specific promises of a certain gas mileage rating.

While the case is a victory for Honda because California state law does not allow any further appeals, dozens of other lawsuits have been filed in small claims courts throughout the country. Some of the cases have already gone to court, while many remain that Honda still must fight. Honda has won all of the cases that have been heard thus far except for one.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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