Estimated MPG and the First Amendment
The U.S. Constitution is the official rulebook of individual and business behavior in the United States. Without the Constitution and its amendments, judges, juries, and lawyers would be unable to litigate equitable justice. Businesses, just as individual citizens, must adhere to the articles and amendments in the Constitution. Moreover, the importance of the Constitution cannot be over emphasized since “fully half of the provisions of the Constitution govern commerce” (Roberts, 2005, p.24, ¶2). One of the widely used, contested, and defended Constitutional amendments’ regarding business dealings is the first amendment.
The first amendment is the freedom of religion and press. The first amendment has incorporated the term ‘free expression’ along with speech and religion. Individuals and businesses have often pushed the acceptable envelope of the free speech clause of the first amendment. American industry, especially the automotive industry, has more than once tested the validity of the free speech clause contained in the first amendment. In comparison of the obvious violation of the first amendment by yelling fire in a crowded theater when a fire is not present, auto manufacturers and dealerships have circumvented direct violation of the first amendment in the past by using misleading sales techniques such as bait and switch or misleading finance opportunities such as guaranteed financing for all.
With the recent increases in the cost of oil, fuels such as diesel and gasoline have risen drastically. American consumers are seeking more fuel-efficient vehicles in response to higher fuel prices. With gasoline at $4 a gallon, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mile per gallon (MPG) ratings have come under consumer scrutiny. Claims of vehicles getting nearly 60 MPG have been found in many cases to be inaccurate. Auto manufacturers and dealerships have been challenged and charged with violating the first amendment by using incorrect or unrealistic MPG fuel ratings on new vehicle window stickers or in marketing and advertising on radio and television. Toyota and Honda have been implicated for misleading consumers as to their hybrid vehicles actual fuel ratings by as much as 50% off from the new vehicle window stickers stated numbers. In California, consumers are seeking “compensation for what they believe are misleading claims by Toyota, and most likely Honda, about the published fuel economy ratings of their gasoline-electric hybrids” (Moore, 2004, p.1, ¶1).
- Quote paper
- James Tallant (Author), 2008, Estimated MPG and The First Amendment , Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/167358