Fuel economy lawsuits started popping up against Ford trucks in mid 2019, with plaintiffs alleging that Ford Motor Co. sold and marketed Ranger and F-150 trucks with false mpg ratings. The tl;dr version of the various Ford truck lawsuits is the automaker performed inaccurate EPA testing and overstated fuel economy.
Initial lawsuits primarily pertained to 2019 Rangers and 2018 F-150s.
This week, a new lawsuit was filed for the same reason but covering 2019-2020 Rangers and 2018-2020 F-150s.
Specifically, this lawsuit states: “Over a million Ford truck owners are now driving vehicles that will cost them thousands of dollars more to own or lease than they anticipated. Because of Ford’s deception, all purchasers and lessees of these vehicles paid more for these vehicles than they are actually worth.”
We find this new lawsuit particularly interesting, since Ford countered prior lawsuits in May 2020 stating they should be dismissed because owners who sued don’t understand the word “estimated.”
Ford’s motion to dismiss states the plaintiffs are trying to be chief regulators for fuel economy estimates and insert themselves into a process that’s already heavily regulated by both the EPA and Federal Trade Commission.
Furthermore, the motion references how the EPA explains its “ratings are a useful tool for comparing vehicles when car buying, but they may not accurately predict the fuel economy you will get.”
So, how is this new lawsuit different? It really isn’t, except it lists more details. Specifically, using a 2018 Ford F-150 with the EcoBoost V-6 as an example, it states that truck would consume about 1,789 more gallons of fuel during the vehicle’s lifetime.
If you’d like to extrapolate a bit, that means an owner would potentially spend $3,996.63 more on fuel for that truck (using today’s national average gas price of $2.234 per gallon) than originally anticipated.
Ford has been caught with its pants down before, namely when it put faulty fuel economy numbers on 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Ford C-Max Hybrid, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi and 2014 Ford Fiesta. In addition to lowering the fuel economy ratings for these vehicles, Ford gave each current owner $125 – $1,050 as a goodwill payment.
Additionally, we have to note there is in an ongoing Department of Justice criminal investigation into Ford’s emissions certification processes, which was launched in 2018 after an employee raised the issue in 2018.
Though Ford admitted wrong doing in 2014, we’re not sure they’ll do that with the F-150 and Ranger – especially since they launched an investigation into this issue in February 2019 and concluded there was no evidence to suggest emissions certifications or fuel economy labels were incorrect.
That combined with the motion to dismiss will make things interesting. Will owners be able to pull another goodwill payment out of Ford? Or will the definition of “estimated” win the day? Stay tuned.