An American owner of a Civic hybrid has lost her case against the manufacturer after claiming compensation for the fact that her Honda Civic did not achieve its claimed fuel economy.

Heather Peters initially won $10,000 in a small claims court, but Superior court Judge Dudley Gray ruled against her at the appeal hearing, saying Honda's ads were "not specific promises of anything". It appears Honda had already offered owners of Civic hybrids up to $200 in cash plus a discount on a new Honda to settle the claims, but Peters decided to try her luck in court instead.

It is a topical case for UK motorists. There is increasing controversy over the official EU test results for fuel consumption, which are looking ever more ridiculous with the launch of each new model. The EU tests are even more favourable to hybrids than the US tests, and plenty of owners are complaining that their cars do not get within 20% of the official figures.

However, there appears to be no chance of winning a court case about it over here. The tests are official EU ones, and the fact that the test methodology is hopelessly unrealistic is not the fault of the car manufacturers. Our guess is that you would have to show that a car manufacturer deliberately cheated in the test, and that scenario seems pretty unlikely.