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The dirty little secret on the old-school EPA tests for fuel economy numbers has always been they're not good at showing real world driving performance. There's simply no way to achieve the heights of the numbers they come up with when you're faced with fuel-use affecting factors such as aggressive driving, grade levels and umm — wind. Although the EPA's changing those tests to make them a bit more in line with reality, it didn't come soon enough for John True out in California. Last year the man traded in his Mercedes E320 and shelling out $28,470 on a brand-spanking new Honda Civic Hybrid — that's at least $7,000 more than the nonhybrid Civic EX. True then claims he averaged 32 mpg in mixed city/highway after ripping up the roads for around 6,000 miles. That's a wee bit lower than the advertised 49 / 51 mpg city/highway fuel economy numbers advertised by Honda. In fact, that's about what you'd expect...

...from a $10,000 Chevy Aveo. So True's suing Honda in a class-action lawsuit he's filed in US District Court in Riverside, California — in what appears to be the first time the mileage claims of hybrid vehicles have been challenged in court. True claims Honda's been engaging in some very false advertising. Honda claims they're just using the numbers provided to them by the EPA. We're thinking the truth here rests somewhere in the middle.

Hybrid owner sues Honda over mileage claims [Detroit News]

Report: No Hybrid for New Accord; Lexus RX400h Ad Pulled Out Of UK Magazines For False Claim Of Low Emissions; Honda's Entry Hybrid a Go for 2009; Geneva Showcase: Honda Small Hybrid Sports Concept; Mileage Will Vary: EPA Changes Rules On Fuel Economy To Reflect Reality [internal]