Ford announced in February 2019 that its fuel economy ratings were not accurate on some of its vehicles due to its fuel economy testing procedures. As a result of the automaker’s admittedly flawed testing, a Ford Fuel Economy class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of consumers who claim their vehicle is getting mileage per gallon (MPG) substantially different than the MPG advertised.
Ford Fuel Economy Marketing and Sales Practices Class Action LawsuitThe fuel economy class action lawsuit alleges that the automaker marketed and sold or leased certain 2017-2019 vehicle models with fuel economy ratings that were overstated and failed to disclose this information to its customers. If you owned or leased or presently own or lease a Ford vehicle model years 2017-2019 , you may be entitled to compensation if the advertised fuel mileage economy was overstated by Ford.
This class action lawsuit states that plaintiffs have been damaged by Ford’s misrepresentations, concealment, and non-disclosure of the MPG metrics, because they were misled into leasing or purchasing vehicles of a quality different than they were promised, therefore paying higher fuel costs they would not otherwise have paid.
According to the class action lawsuit, Ford has admitted that its testing methods were incorrect and produced artificially high fuel economy ratings. “Ford knows that consumers are concerned with fuel economy and rising fuel prices, and markets its inflated fuel economy claims to entice consumers to buy or lease Ford vehicles instead of those of its competitors.” The complaint is Case 1:19-cv-03794 Document 1 Filed 06/28/19.
(Fuel economy of an automobile relates distance traveled by a vehicle to the amount of fuel consumed. This is typically expressed in terms of gallons of gasoline consumed to distance traveled in miles. MPG is calculated by dividing the number of miles traveled by the amount of gasoline consumed to travel such miles.)
Fuel Economy Testing and the EPAFuel economy ratings are vital to automotive manufacturers as they have a significant impact on sales. The vehicle manufacturer is responsible for fuel economy testing in its own laboratories in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standardized laboratory test procedures and must report the results to the EPA.
The EPA reviews the results and confirms about 15-20 percent through its own testing. The EPA re-tests some models selected randomly while others are tested again because of consumer complaints. Although the EPA only sets guidelines, it can investigate and require an automaker to hire a third party. According to the lawsuit, inaccurate fuel economy ratings did not comply with federal regulations.
The EPA was notified by Ford that a third party was hired to investigate its fuel economy and testing procedures – the main concern is whether it miscalculated “road load” specifications used for testing. If the road load (the force put on a vehicle while driving at a constant speed over a level surface.) is too light, it could result in better fuel economy than stated.
Ford told Reuters that since late 2018 it has been investigating concerns raised by employees (referred to by the Center for Automotive Research as “whistleblowers”) that incorrect calculations were used to translate test results into the mileage and emissions data submitted to regulators. The automaker was looking into processes it uses to develop fuel economy and emissions figures, "including engineering, technical and governance components."
The investigation began with the 2019 Ford Ranger, which has been advertised as “the most fuel-efficient gas-powered midsize pickup in America”, with a best-in-class EPA-estimated 23-miles-per-gallon combined fuel economy. Reuters reported in April that Ford is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and a class action lawsuit followed, alleging that Ford deceived customers about the mileage of its 2019 Ranger, along with other vehicles.
This isn’t the first time that Ford has made incorrect fuel economy claims. In 2014, Ford lowered fuel economy ratings for six other models and offered compensation to customers, reported Detroit News (Apr 2019).
Attorneys are currently investigating nationwide other Ford vehicles after consumers have complained that their leased or purchased car with stated EPA fuel economy ratings and advertised fuel efficiency ratings were inaccurate.