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Facing soaring gas prices, California musician John True decided to go for a new hybrid to try and save some money on his fuel bill. Unfortunately for him, even with the expectation of mileage less than the quoted EPA figures, hybrid ads never tell the whole story of how hybrids perform under various conditions. When his results fell short of even his lowered expectations he decided to take on Honda's ads and sue. AutoblogGreen had the opportunity to chat with John about his experience.


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  • 66 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think that this is why automakers are moving to diesel. They know that the hybrid system sucks.

      It adds extra power, but doesn't really increase gas mileage.

        • 8 Years Ago
        Diesel sucks just as well. Installed in the same car a diesel and a gasoline engine of similar hp rating produce pretty much the same performance and fuel consumption (and by fuel consumption I mean the mass of the fuel burned, not the volume).

        You can see for yourself, compare BMW 530i with BMW 535d and you'll see that they have pretty much the same power and performance, together with very similar fuel consumption (measured in kg).

        While diesel engines can be more efficient than gasoline engines (the reason why you won't see industrial gasoline engines), the ones installed in passenger cars are not much more efficient than gasoline engines, mostly because of weight and dimensions restrictions. The way they are now, diesel engines installed in passenger cars do not improve fuel economy when they deliver the same performance as gasoline engines.

        Instead of building heavier cars using diesel or hybrid engines engineers should spend the money on lowering the weight of vehicle and improving the cycle of gasoline engine (HCCI).
        • 8 Years Ago
        "I think that this is why automakers are moving to diesel. "

        Who is?
        • 8 Years Ago
        BMW likes to socially engineer cars. They take a common engine design (same displacement, compression ratio) and try to do different things. (different fuel systems, different turbocharger arrangement, etc.)
        Look at the 5-series. The cars are limited to 250kph(gentleman's agreement). The 3.0 Inline6 diesel is offered in three variants.
        525d-(194hp@3750 295ft-lbs@1300 146mph drag limited-auto)
        530d-(232hp@4000 369ft-lbs@1750 154mph drag limited-auto)
        535d-(282hp@4400 428ft-lbs@1750 155mph gov-auto, auto only)
        even the base one cleans the 3.0 N53's clock (~25% greater peak) in terms of torque.
        The 535 makes twice the power@1750rpm than the 530i. Totally different driving style, considering that the gas engine can rev to 7000 and the diesel only 5000rpm.
        • 8 Years Ago
        @ snakesausage
        What you are describing is typical incorrect comparison using different cars, with different specs and different drivers.

        In the past it was more difficult to compare diesels with gasoline engines because at the same displacement diesels were much less powerful and obviously got better fuel economy. Now, when everybody in Europe buys the hype of power per displacement, diesels have the same power with gasoline engines at the same displacement and comparisons are easier.

        You should clearly understand what a fair comparison means: it should be the same car, it should reach the same max speed and have the same acceleration. ONLY in such conditions you can compare the fuel economy. I'll give one example, but many such examples can be found:

        BMW 530i: 271PS, 0-100km/h in 6.3sec, top speed 250km/h, fuel consumption 10.9/5.8/7.7 l/100km urban/extra-urban/combined, combined consumption in kg: 5.67kg of gasoline for 100km, CO2 Emissions 182 g/km

        BMW 535d: 285PS, 0-100km/h in 6.4sec, top speed 250km/h, fuel consumption 9.2/5.4/6.8 l/100km urban/extra-urban/combined, combined consumption in kg: 5.67kg of diesel fuel for 100km, CO2 Emissions 182 g/km

        What this shows is that for identical requirements and performance both diesel and gasoline engines consume just as much.
        • 8 Years Ago
        you know, hybrids aren't the be-all end-all in maximizing efficiency in cars. That said, neither is diesel. As for the "proof" that you guys put forward, there is so much info out there that you can prove any point you want to.

        Each system has their strengths and weaknesses. Assuming equal level of technology (yeah, yeah, it's apples and oranges), it basically comes down to how much the hybrid can use its regenerative breaking/battery power. A hybrid will get killed by diesel on highway driving, since it will pretty much be using its gas engine the whole time. A diesel loses to hybrids in the city, since it loses 100% of the energy produced when it brakes, while hybrids recover some of that energy. Plus, hybrids can turn off their engine at idle.

        So until a hybrid diesel comes along, it's up to the manufacturers to develop both technologies, and for customers to know which technology fits their needs.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I'm sick of this diesel crap. Diesel nuts are always shoing Euro diesel numbers, even though they don't correspond to American MPG measurements. If you went to Europe, you'd know that petrol-electric models produce better mileage than their diesel counterparts. The UK Civic Hybrid averages higher mileage over the diesel variants. The Hybrid costs more than the base diesel Civic, but less than most of the diesel Civic trim levels.

        I see someone pointing out that the Escape Hybrid averaged 26 mpg in CR testing. The only non-hybrid SUV close to that was the Forester at 23. The Civic Hybrid averaged 37 in CR testing. No other car was close except the Yaris and the Fit, with 34 each. The Hybrid owner is some wannabe jazz player no one has heard of, trying to find attention, and trying to make money (since he has no real job) off a suit as loony as the $54 million pants case in DC. The man's an idiot who clearly has a problem driving properly.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Andy, regardless of what European or American estimates say, I get marvelous fuel economy with my diesels. I drive on the highway, and I drive fast. In 85 mph highway driving, my E320 CDI gets 34 mpg and my Jetta TDI gets 44 mpg. This is calculated from the odometer and between fillups, not by the trip computer. In contrast, my Volvo S70 gets about 24 mpg under the same circumstances.

        all4honda
        • 8 Years Ago
        TEST DRIVE A HONDA ACCORD 05 HYBRID TOP SPEED OVER 150MPH.I SHOULD KNOW!!!!!1
      • 7 Years Ago
      I know there are lies, damned lies, and statistics, but it's better to take a wider view rather than just look at single numbers from random individuals. Take a look at the mileage database at http://greenhybrid.com/compare/mileage/ for instance. Unfortunately, the main image on that page has a problem with text alignment (at least on my computer), but the table below it has a lot of useful information. The average mileage for a current Civic Hybrid is 45.8 mpg there, and the middle 50% of owners average 42.5 to 50.0 mpg.
      • 8 Years Ago
      One test question to ask yourself when considering a lawsuit is: What are my damages?
      The question in this instance is:
      What are the damages?
      Musician True should go back to playing with himself.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Screw the automakers that make such bulls... claims.
      Waiting on a reasonably priced proven diesel....I know they are coming in th enear future.
      Is a diesel/hybrid out of the question? Would a D/H be cost prohibitive...if one were available and reliable ?
      How long would it take to make up the difference in initiall cost?
      • 8 Years Ago
      And it's not like it's a big secret that hybrids don't get the mileage advertised.

      http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Autos/story?id=1274541

      "Consumer Reports tested the Ford Escape hybrid and found it averaged 26 miles per gallon on a trip that mixed city and highway driving. The EPA estimates that the front-wheel-drive Escape gets 36 mpg in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway, according to Ford's Web site. The site notes that your actual mileage will vary based on driving habits. The Honda Civic sedan hybrid came up 46 percent short of the EPA mileage rating."

      Bryan
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't see why everyone finds this ridiculous. Its clearly false advertisement. If a woman can get millions for being an idiot with hot coffee, then I do not see any reason this guy cannot win.
        • 8 Years Ago
        @Bryan
        Get a clue indeed. Let's get some facts straight:

        1. McD's did NOT make it's coffee substantially hotter than other restaurants based on tests during the original case.
        2. Yes, hot coffee can scald you if you spill it on yourself.
        3. The final settlement was for "less than $600,000" meaning that it was probably closer to $300,000 (there's no way this would have been held up on appeal) so minus lawyers fee's it would have been about $150k in her pocket. That's still $150k too much but it's not quite the travesty of justice originally portrayed.

        It's no accident that lawyers consistently rate as one of the least respected professions in the civilized world.
        • 8 Years Ago
        @Bryan
        Getting third degree burns doesn't prevent her from being an idiot.
      • 8 Years Ago
      my friend has one of these, when he drives he gets 40-50 mpg, when his wife drives it get 30-40

      sounds to me like the musician is just a bad driver
      • 8 Years Ago
      The auto industry is a favorite target for enviromentalist. Over the last 30 years vehicles have cleaned up quite a bit. Industry,air craft and lake freighters pollute too.

      Today we have to have 200 horse power and 10 air bags in a car so we can talk on a cell phone safley while driving.
      My 87 Ford tempo 5 speed would get 38 mpg hwy. All it had was 98 hp. It was enough to get around at a good clip.

      The energy it takes to produce something is a good point to take into consideration.

      Safe disposal of used chemicals stuff we all use is something that needs to be addressed. Old thermometers, paint cans, oil, detergent these are all residuals of unspent porduct or spent product. is some comunities it goes down the drain or in a land fill.
      • 8 Years Ago
      He should really sue himself for Gross Idiocy. Honda doesn't guaruntee the EPA estimates, nor do they estimate them, the EPA does. Honda simply advertises the Agency's estimates. He and his ignorance of the dubiousness of EPA estimates gives Cali musicians a bad name.
      • 8 Years Ago
      One test question to ask yourself when considering a lawsuit is: What are my damages?
      The question in this instance is:
      What are the damages?
      Musician True should go back to playing with himself.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I applaud the Civic owner for taking on Honda re: MPG claims. 32 MPG is a huge difference from the advertised MPG.

      Most Prius owners get about 46-48, which is also a big difference from the 60 city/55 hwy claim that Toyota features prominently in its advertising.

      BTW, I bet Al Gore III doesn't get good MPG in his Prius, seeing how he drives it at 100 MPH
        • 8 Years Ago
        I think his claim is false since a regular NON hybrid auto Civic can get 32 mpg - in the city! Even a regualr 4 cyl Accord sedan can get 32 on the hwy. And here he claims that he is getting ripped off for getting 32 in a Hybrid Civic? On the highway? Something doesn't make sense to me.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Poor guy. That lawsuit is going to cost him a LOT more than he's ever going to get back.

      It is a problem that cars don't get the EPA estimates. In 2007, honestly they should get DOUBLE their estimates, given that my old 1992 Honda Civic VX got 52mpg (with airbags, side protection bars) and engineering from 15 years ago. However, anyone who does 6 minutes of web research knows that the best mpg in a hybrid is going to be in stop and go blah blah blah...

      Furthermore, that he has no idea which Ford he was shopping for, nor what mpg his MB gets is just more indication of the fact that he's not particularly smart. BUT, maybe, a $100,000 law suit later, he'll luck out. -And they'll buy back his $23,000 car.
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