Economy Briefs: Honda appeal seeks to reverse owner’s award

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CALIFORNIA

TORRANCE, Calif. | Lawyers for American Honda Motor company are trying to overturn a highly publicized small-claims court award to a woman who sued over the poor fuel mileage of her hybrid Honda Civic.

The appeal is being heard Thursday by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who will decide whether to reverse a court commissioner’s award of $9,867 to Heather Peters.

She opted out of a class-action settlement designed to give some 200,000 owners between $100 and $200 each plus a rebate if they buy a new Honda.

A Honda service manager has testified she achieved up to 55 mpg in a 115-mile test drive on freeways and streets.

Ms. Peters called a former Honda analyst who says he tested hybrids after customer complaints and was never able to duplicate the promised 50 mpg.

NEW YORK

Starbucks plans to stop using ‘crushed bug’ dye

NEW YORK — Starbucks Corp. says it will stop using a red dye in its drinks that is derived from crushed bugs.

The Seattle-based coffee chain said in a blog post on its website that it made the decision to reformulate its drinks after feedback from consumers prompted a “thorough” evaluation.

The company says it will swap out cochineal extract, which is made from the juice of a tiny beetle, and instead use lycopene, a tomato-based extract.

Cochineal dye is widely used in foods and cosmetics products such as lipstick, yogurt and shampoo. Starbucks had used the coloring in its strawberry flavored mixed drinks and foods like the raspberry swirl cake and red velvet whoopie pie.

The company says the items will be reformulated by the end of June.

NEW YORK

Sprint-Nextel sued for $100M in sales taxes

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