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Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Overstated

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In the realm of news obscured by the election, Hyundai and Kia apparently overstated their vehicles’ gas mileage for more than a third of the vehicles sold in the past few years. Both South Korean automakers have offered apologies to consumers and "special debit cards" to approximately a million owners to accommodate them for the disparity in what the companies promised and the lower miles per gallon their vehicles experienced.

The companies attribute the overstatement to "procedural errors" at a South Korean test center. John Krafcik, chief executive of Hyundai Motor America, stated the company planned to "make this right" for consumers. The EPA spokesperson noted that this was the largest disparity… or inflation ever of an automaker’s fuel economy, according to The Los Angeles Times. While Hyundai and Kia both promote the fuel economy of their vehicles, they have received consumer complaints about fuel economy. At least one suit is presently in the California court system focused on false advertising for the Elantra, Hyundai’s compact sedan. Consumer complaints prompted EPA to test the 2012 Elantra’s mileage

To compensate consumers for the disparity in fuel economy, personalized debit cards will be issued to owners of vehicles to reimburse them "for the difference between the companies’ mileage claims and what the EPA has determined is the correct fuel economy rating for combined city and highway driving." (Los Angeles Times, 11/2/12)

One wonders if the apology and the debit card will solve it for owners. If EPA says the mileage ratings on the vehicle labels could be reduced by 1 to 2 miles per gallon (mpg), or 6 mpg for the Kia Soul. The Soul was formerly listed at 34 mpg highway—it will now be listed at 28 mpg highway. (Los Angeles Times)