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Energy - Energy Efficiency Act (EEA)

. Rebuck v. Ford Motor Company

In Rebuck v. Ford Motor Company (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal heard a class action appeal (on substantive issues, it was already certified), involving the federal EnerGuide fuel consumption program. The issues were consumer protection 'misrepresentation' ones, from the federal Competition Act, the Ontario Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and similar other provincial statutes.

In these quotes the court sets out some background of the EnerGuide program, under the federal Energy Efficiency Act:
[2] The federal government’s EnerGuide label program helps consumers compare energy efficiencies when purchasing high-energy-use products. For most products, EnerGuide labelling is required by federal regulation. In the case of new vehicles, EnerGuide labels were affixed pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) which, based on Ministerial powers provided under federal legislation, the Department of Natural Resources (“NRCan”) entered into with the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, which included Ford Canada, and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers.

[3] In extending the use of EnerGuide labels to the sale or lease of new vehicles, the federal government had two objectives: to help consumers compare the fuel consumption of different vehicles and models before making a purchase or lease decision and to encourage fuel-efficient driving.

[4] In its 2012 Guidelines for Determination and Submission of Fuel Consumption Data for Fuel Consumption Labelling (the “Guidelines”), the federal government prescribed the design and content of the EnerGuide labels that had to be affixed by vehicle manufacturers to new vehicles in the 2013 and 2014 model years. Ford’s EnerGuide label for 2014 set out three core pieces of information: (1) the estimated fuel consumption for city driving was 24 miles per gallon (“mpg”); (2) the estimated fuel consumption for highway driving was 36 mpg; and (3) the estimated annual fuel cost was $2,600. In compliance with the Guidelines, the label also states that, “These estimates are based on the Government of Canada’s approved criteria and testing methods. The actual fuel consumption of this vehicle may vary. Refer to the Fuel Consumption Guide”. Across its top, the label advises, “Ask your dealer for the FUEL CONSUMPTION GUIDE or call 1-800-387-2000”.

[5] The Fuel Consumption Guide (“FCG”) explained that, “The ratings provide a reliable comparison of the fuel consumption of different vehicles. However, your vehicle’s fuel consumption will vary from the published ratings, depending on how, where and when you drive.”

[6] In their marketing materials, Ford repeated the estimated fuel consumption for city and highway driving set out in the EnerGuide label. The estimates were accompanied by the statement: “Fuel consumption ratings based on Transport Canada approved test methods. Actual fuel consumption will vary”.


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