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Ford Ranger 2019 Emissions – Inflated Mileage Expectations

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Ford Motor Company for its emissions testing process which may have led to inflated mileage statements. The company was forced conduct internal investigations and to report their possible miscalculations to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who then prompted the DOJ.

Ford Motor Company Emissions Investigation

Ford Motor Company is under a U.S. Department of Justice investigation due to testing practices which may overstate mileage and fuel efficiency. Inflated mileage expectations may result in consumers paying more for an automobile that does not perform as expected and to spend more on fuel than expected due to less efficient operation. The DOJ investigation is a criminal matter with was opened after employees discovered problems with the testing process.

The company was forced conduct internal investigations and to report their possible miscalculations to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who then prompted the DOJ. Ford has said that they are cooperating in the investigation which may expand to other vehicles.

This emissions investigation affects only the new 2019 Ford Ranger, with gasoline fuel system and is separate from the “Dieselgate” scandal which involved defeat devices to trick emissions testing in Volkswagen and other diesel automobiles.

Fuel Efficiency May Have Been Overstated

In automobiles, better fuel economy means less pollution will be emitted. Emissions testing is part of the equation that helps to predict, authenticate and validate expected mileage ratings (mpg) or fuel economy.

Part of this process is calculation of “road load”, a measurement of how much force a vehicle is under. Factors of road load include aerodynamic drag, tire resistance, and other forces of friction.

Miscalculating “road load” may lead to misstated mpg expectations or fuel economy estimates. The company has stated that the computer modelling may have been at fault in the overstatements. Thus far, only the newly reintroduced 2019 Ford Ranger truck is included in the potential misstatements.

Misleading Advertising for Best in Class

Independent testing has revealed that Ford vehicles may not be as efficient as promised. After several years of hiatus for the Ford Ranger, Ford reintroduced the Ford Ranger for the 2019 season to compete in the “mid-size” truck range. The Ranger was discontinuing in 2011 but was needed to fill a void as Ford’s flagship, the F-150 has gotten bigger and more expensive.

Advertising states that the Ford Ranger is more fuel efficient than competitors in the same class. With the mileage overestimates now exposed, it appears that Ford’s advertising may have been deceptive in promoting Ranger pickup trucks as “best-in-class” fuel economy, beating out the Honda Ridgeline for the “mid-size” truck market. This may have encouraged consumers to purchase Ford Rangers rather than other vehicles.

Customers pay a premium for greater economy and lower environmental impact and automakers know this. Pricing of trucks advertised as “best in class” may have been higher because of the false ratings and customers may have expected better fuel economy and lower operating costs. People who purchased Ford products, paid more for them or were forced to pay more to operate the vehicles may have suffered financial loss.

Past Ford Mileage Misstatements

This is not the first time that Ford has faced issued regarding mileage ratings. In 2013, the automaker reduced stated fuel economy for C-Max hybrid after complaints showed it was much lower in fuel efficiency than stated. In 2014, the company was again forced to lower ratings on six different automobile models. In each case, Ford has offered compensation to consumers for increased fuel and operational costs.

Though investigations have started with the newly minted 2019 Ford Ranger, problems may expand to include other vehicles. The company has reportedly hired an independent agency to conduct further, more exhaustive testing but the DOJ criminal investigation and investigation with the California Air Resources Board is ongoing.

Ford’s criminal liability may depend on whether cheating was intentional. In the last several years, multiple automakers have come under fire for serious violations which have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, penalties, and lawsuit settlements and has sent several executives to prison for criminal wrongdoing.

Even if Ford is cleared of criminal wrongdoing, it may not release them from civil liability to consumers who may have been financially harmed. A class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of consumers who may have been harmed financially by fuel economy misstatements

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