JD Power survey finds hybrid fuel economy a sore spot for owners

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A JD Power and Associates survey found that more owners are irked with hybrid fuel economy than normal cars. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A big selling point for cars is the fuel economy, though many don’t read the label bearing the phrase “mileage may vary.” Apparently it varies a lot, as a JD Power and Associates survey of Japanese hybrid owners found actual hybrid fuel economy is a real sore spot.

Hybrid fuel economy may vary

There are two selling points for hybrid cars. One is that they are much better for the environment, as they produce fewer emissions and the other is they are ostensibly more fuel efficient. It’s undeniable that they certainly were when the first generation Toyota Prius came out, but now the dirty gas guzzlers are starting to catch up on that front. The Toyota magic may start to wear off when traditional motors cross the 50 miles per gallon barrier.

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Not only that, but some people are catching on that the reason for the phrase “actual mileage may vary” in the fine print. Granted, fuel economy is governed by a variety of factors, not least of which being how one drives. However, some owners have found that hybrid fuel economy is not living up to expectations.

3 in 10 not happy with hybrid mileage

A recent survey by JD Power and Associates, according to AutoGuide, from the company’s Asian-Pacific division, found that a number of hybrid owners in Japan weren’t thrilled with the mileage they hybrids got. The survey, a followup to a 2008 survey of new car buyers, found that 29 percent of hybrid and electric vehicle owners were dissatisfied with their hybrid fuel economy, compared to 21 percent of gas engine-only owners.

With bank auto loan rates being what they are, one can’t fault people being a little peeved if the mileage isn’t exactly up to snuff. JD Power’s survey also found fuel economy was a factor for 48 percent of buyers.

Mileage claims under fire

Car makers are starting to come under fire for gas mileage claims, especially concerning the more economical models. Earlier this year, according to Reuters, Honda won an appeal concerning a lawsuit brought by one Heather Peters, who sued Honda in small claims court over the claimed gas mileage for the Civic Hybrid she purchased. She had won the initial case and damages were awarded to her and any other Civic Hybrid buyer that was similarly aggrieved over the hybrid fuel economy not living up to expectations.

A similar suit was lodged against Hyundai, according to the Los Angeles Times, as a man who bought an Elantra was unable to attain the claimed 40 miles per gallon highway.




Los Angeles Times

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