One of the plaintiffs in this case, Darren Honeycutt, bought a 2018 Ford F-150 in January 2018 for just over $45,505. Three months later, in April 2018, he traded it in for $31,230, because of its poor fuel economy. Ford has already been accused of falsifying the fuel economy of its Ranger vehicles in more than one class action. The complaint for this class action alleges that Ford also falsified the fuel economy of its F-150 trucks.
The Nationwide Class for this action is all persons or entities in the US who bought or leased model year 2017 through 2019 Ford vehicles that were advertised and sold with false fuel-economy ratings. The complaint also proposes state subclasses for California, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma.
While the EPA sets the standards for fuel economy testing of vehicles, the testing is actually carried out by the vehicle makers.
The testing is performed indoors, on a dynamometer, so road conditions are simulated by calculating a “road load” consisting of the “force imparted on a vehicle while it is driving at constant speed over a smooth level surface from sources such as tire rolling resistance, driveline losses, and aerodynamic drag.” The testing for this is performed during on-road operation and then entered into the dynamometer so that it can simulate the same road load.
Class actions have been filed concerning the fuel economy of Ford’s midsize Ranger truck. The present complaint claims that the road load Ford used to test it was understated “and this had the effect of overstating fuel economy ratings beyond any expected margin of error.” The complaint alleges that Ford “used the same flawed road load testing on the F-150, resulting in similarly overstated fuel economy ratings…”
The complaint alleges that a number of independent sources have been testing the F-150’s mileage. It says, “For example, Edmunds has been engaged in a long-term test of a 2018 F-150 and, having accumulated more than 27,000 miles on the truck over the past year, has not been able to meet or exceed Ford’s EPA fuel economy numbers…” Also, “Car and Driver, in its review of a 2019 F-150[,] had a similar criticism, noting that its ‘real-world highway fuel-economy test’ achieved only 19 MPG, ‘an anticlimactic 4 MPG below its official EPA rating.’”
It also reports statistics from individual owners from various sources, showing significantly lower fuel efficiency than Ford advertises. One of the plaintiffs in this case, Ahmed Abdi, says he has kept careful records of mileage and fuel use and that his calculations show that his F-150 gets only 20-20.3 miles per gallon.
The complaint says that Ford admitted in its February 2019 annual report that it had “become aware of a potential concern involving its U.S. emissions certification process” and couldn’t assure investors that it “will not have a material adverse effect on the Company.”