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Hyundai Overstated MPG On Over 1 Million Cars 238

Posted by timothy
from the or-maybe-600-thousand-whatever dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Reuters reports that Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors conceded that they overstated the fuel economy on more than 1 million recently sold vehicles, and agreed to compensate owners for the additional fuel costs after the EPA found the errors in 13 Kia and Hyundai models from the 2011 to 2013 model years. The findings were a blow to the two carmakers, which have centered their marketing campaigns on superior fuel economy. The mileage on most labels will be reduced by 1 to 2 miles per gallon, with the largest adjustment being a 6-mpg highway reduction for one version of the Kia Soul, the EPA said. Hyundai previously touted the fact that many of its models get 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Now three Hyundai models, the Elantra, Accent and Veloster, as well as the Kia Rio fall short of that mark, as will the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima hybrids."
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Hyundai Overstated MPG On Over 1 Million Cars

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  • MPG testing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CdBee (742846) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @10:30AM (#41872123)
    I'm unconvinced anyway by mileage claims. I can't speak for the US system but in the UK it's done in a test where the car runs for a set period at certain speeds then either accelerates or decelerates to different speeds, all cars are tested at the same speeds and intervals to get comparable figures. On A Rolling Road

    If they were comparable to real life it'd be nice: It makes no adjustment for whether some cars coast better than others downhill, effects of wind resistance, effect on drag of the car's turning geometry.... In the real world some cars do significantly better than their official mileages and others can't even get close.

    My VW Passat 2.0i 16v (1991) once managed 56mpg on one long run and always beat 45mpg when it was officially meant to do no more than 42mpg, my 1.8D Ford Escort didn't even come close to its official range of 50-60mpg on long runs and my dad's Passat 1.8 20v likewise drank far more than the label indicated it should, and both my mondeo 1.8TD and Volvo V40 2.0i 16v significantly beat their official figures (the Mondeo with ease, it once managed 932 miles on a single tank, the V40 takes careful handling).

    TL:DR? Summary: "Official mileage figures are unreliable, live with it"
    • I'm british, when I say 'mpg' I mean miles per british gallon, which are bigger.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm in the US and the MPG figures are not perfect, but they seem to be a little pessimistic. I can beat them by 5 or 6 percent, typically, for both city and highway driving. Of course, if you drive more aggressively, you can also see the opposite result. But I've never owned a car where I couldn't beat the EPA estimates.

        I have noticed that even when you adjust for the gallon size difference, the UK/EU testing cycle gives much more optimistic results for the same vehicle compared to the US testing cycle.

        • If you consistently beat them by the same amount regardless of the car, then they're doing a good job - you have useful gauge to compare different models, and you have a good estimate for yourself after applying the correction factor.

          The question is whether the real-world numbers match the estimates. I'm not sure we could get that without requiring the cars collect the data themselves and mechanics submit the data at the regular service intervals.

        • by Shavano (2541114)

          I'm in the US and the MPG figures are not perfect, but they seem to be a little pessimistic. I can beat them by 5 or 6 percent, typically, for both city and highway driving. Of course, if you drive more aggressively, you can also see the opposite result. But I've never owned a car where I couldn't beat the EPA estimates.

          I have noticed that even when you adjust for the gallon size difference, the UK/EU testing cycle gives much more optimistic results for the same vehicle compared to the US testing cycle. So when comparing, one has to adjust both for that, and the gallon difference.

          They are intended to be typical for most drivers, not the best you can get. There are many factors that affect it: driver habits, the routes you drive and the traffic on those routes, your altitude, climate, etc.

          • True enough.. I had both a Chevy Silverado 1500 crew cab, and a Hyundai Sonata before my current car a Challenger RT... I tended to do about 5-6mpg higher than rated in the sonata, and about the rating in the silverado... about 2/3 my driving was highway at the time... in my challenger, it's a bigger difference.. I tend to do best around 75mph relatively level than my current drive, about 1/2 highway, and heavy traffic... my general driving is around 19-20mpg, but I made a fairly decent trip a few weeks ba
      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @10:45AM (#41872193)

        which are bigger.

        The miles, or the gallons? :-) Also, everyone else, note that liters and kilometers are the same everywhere! ;)

        • by Rogerborg (306625) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:06AM (#41872303) Homepage

          note that liters and kilometers are the same everywhere!

          Except at NASA.

        • by OzPeter (195038)

          which are bigger.

          The miles, or the gallons? :-) Also, everyone else, note that liters and kilometers are the same everywhere! ;)

          Even still litres per 100 km is the better representation than mpg or km per litre as you are better able to compare different fuel consumptions. See Fuel economy in automobiles [wikipedia.org]

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by khallow (566160)

            Even still litres per 100 km is the better representation than mpg or km per litre

            Not at all. It's the same information.

            • by Shavano (2541114)
              It's the same information presented in an easier to use form, because it's easier to multiply in your head than to divide. Also, if you live anywhere but the USA and your fuel is sold in liters and your odometer reads kilometers... In the USA, I contend we would be better off to report fuel economy in gallons per hundred miles.
              • by khallow (566160) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @02:29PM (#41873651)

                It's the same information presented in an easier to use form, because it's easier to multiply in your head than to divide.

                Nonsense. You would have to divide as well. For example, while figuring out how many miles you can go on your tank of gas. There's no benefit here.

            • by Shavano (2541114)
              We could report it in dBmicroliters/lightyear and that would also be the same information. Sometimes the value of information depends on how it is presented.
            • by OzPeter (195038)

              Even still litres per 100 km is the better representation than mpg or km per litre

              Not at all. It's the same information.

              I said representation not information. Did you even read the link?

              • by khallow (566160)
                I glanced through the link you provided. There was nothing relevant there so I moved on.
            • by willy_me (212994)

              L/100km might contain the same information, but using distance as the domain is preferred. This is far more useful as people don't drive to burn fuel, they drive to travel. Distance is the important variable so fuel mileage should be with respect to distance. It makes comparing given fuel economy ratings easier as it better correlates with the amount of fuel you will use / cost of driving.

              For example, consider the following fuel economy ratings: 4L/100km, 6L/100km, and 8L/100km. For a given distance

              • by khallow (566160)

                L/100km might contain the same information, but using distance as the domain is preferred. This is far more useful as people don't drive to burn fuel, they drive to travel. Distance is the important variable so fuel mileage should be with respect to distance. It makes comparing given fuel economy ratings easier as it better correlates with the amount of fuel you will use / cost of driving.

                Fuel use is the other equally important variable. People don't like to run out of gas in the middle of the highway either. So they do like to know how far they can go on the gas they currently have. Please keep in mind that the usual point of traveling between points A and B is to arrive at point B.

                So for example, my gas needle is far down. I estimate I have two gallons left in the tank and my car does at least 35 MPG. Hence, I can go safely another 70 miles. Oh look, there's a major town 65 miles down t

          • Garbage. If you can compare x you can compare y (where y = k/x), unless you're an innumerate buffoon.

            P.S. What are "still litres"? Something to do with whisky?

    • I agree. I check consumer-contributed fuel economy websites. I don't think they're especially reliable either, but I trust them a little more than official ratings. For examples in the US, try truedelta.com and fuelly.com.

      Hyundai is at least doing the honorable thing and reimbursing all customers who bought the affected vehicles for the difference between the new EPA ratings and the original ones, for the life of the vehicle. That's pretty good - but I'm sure tens of thousands or hundreds of thousand
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        So even though Hyundai may be doing the right thing for its customers, their deception - even if it was unintentional - unfairly gave them a sales advantage against the competition.

        The question is, who else is doing this, and by how much? I think mileage ratings are a lot of bullshit anyway, but I wouldn't be surprised if automakers regularly fudge them by very small amounts. Presumably, you could do the math (and some significant market research, but they all do that) to figure out how much you have to fudge it before you start making significant profit. And of course, the old mileage rating system was a ridiculous joke, you literally could not achieve the mileage ratings in some cas

        • Well, for example, General Motors had some pushrod (no overhead camshaft) V6s in use from the late 1990s and 2000s that routinely met or beat their EPA fuel economy ratings. The engines were less powerful than you'd expect from a V6 and pretty noisy for their class, especially under hard acceleration. But my 2001 Impala was rated 21 city/32 highway, and I averaged between 24 and 28 miles per gallon for the 125,000 miles I owned the vehicle and always got 31-32 miles per gallon on long trips. Our Honda CR
        • Re:MPG testing (Score:4, Informative)

          by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:16PM (#41872803)
          The EPA randomly checks a couple hundred models every year. If cheating were widespread, they would know it.
      • by Shavano (2541114)

        Hyundai is at least doing the honorable thing and reimbursing all customers who bought the affected vehicles for the difference between the new EPA ratings and the original ones, for the life of the vehicle.

        Honorable? They're trying to avoid being charged with fraud. They may be charged anyway.

      • I bought my 2011 Elantra in great part ot the claimed MPG rating, and have been sorely disappointed. I consistently get 20-21 MPG while the rating was in the mid 30s.

        I admit I do almost all city driving, but my 1999 Civic got 29-30 mpg for its life doing basically the same thing for 11 years, so it's not a hard number to hit.

        I've complained to the Hyundai dealer and everyone I speak to gives me a different answer: "lying salesmen", "break-in period", "cheap gas", etc.

        I've tried cheap, mid-price, and top-end

        • I just used their reimbursement calculator, and they say I should expect about $67 back. Hey, it's better than nothing, but my own conservative calculation indicates that if I was getting 25mpg instead of the 20 I'm getting, they'd owe me over $450. Oh well. At least my wife's Tucson gets the mileage we expected.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          In the UK the law says that goods must be "as advertised", so failure to get anywhere near the rated MPG would be grounds for returning the car for a full refund. Doesn't the US have any similar consumer protection laws covering instances when the advertised specs were outrageous lies?

        • by sunspot42 (455706)

          Something's gotta be wrong with your car. I have a 2008, and get 25mph and higher in city driving. And I floor it from stoplights and seldom gradually coast to a stop. The 2011 got better mileage than the 2008 IIRC.

          Maybe its your tires?

          I'd try taking it to another dealer and have them check it out.

          Do you drive it with the A/C running a lot of the time, either for cooling or defogging? I've found the A/C in mine isn't terribly effective, although I haven't noticed it being a huge gas suck.

    • My VW Passat 2.0i 16v (1991) once managed 56mpg on one long run and always beat 45mpg when it was officially meant to do no more than 42mpg

      My 2003 Mercedes C200 diesel wagon gets 51½mpg in mixed driving in summer (with a lot of highway in the mix, it gets better than 60mpg). In winter, the economy drops to about 45mpg. The "official" rating for the car according to the carbon tax people is 43½mpg. Oh, these are also Imperial gallons.

      Official mileage figures are unreliable, live with it.

      Unfortunately, we pay a vehicle carbon tax which is assessed on these "official" figures, whether accurate or not.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      ...and drivers.

      The wife, bless her, gets low 30mpg (Royal miles to the Greenwich gallon) from our Zafira. I can get it into the 40s on the same roads just by being all round awesome and penisey.

      Speaking of which, any government that was serious about increasing economy would mandate an instant, trip and "high score" MPG counter that's always displayed. We all like gaming, right?

      • Speaking of which, any government that was serious about increasing economy would mandate an instant, trip and "high score" MPG counter that's always displayed. We all like gaming, right?

        Yeah, but the idea is a low score, not a high score. Personally, I get giggle fits when accelerating hard, and seing the instant fuel economy jump to > 50L/100km (normal highway economy varies from 4-7L/100km depending on conditions, and can spike to 10-12L when going up a hill or into the wind). It's like those roadside speed radar machines they put up in residential areas where people complain about folks driving too fast. Normally I drive pretty close to the speed limit, but when I see one of those, I

    • Of course they're YMMV because it's completely dependent upon how the car is driven. For example my MkV Jetta is rated at 29 mpg highway. However my best was 46 mpg from Sacramento to San Diego and back (that's right, 46 mpg from a 5 cylinder petrol engine). I even tried to enter this on the EPA's website (fueleconomy.gov) but it wouldn't let me because it said it was too high.

      • If your mileage was that much higher than rating, could this be due to the gas pump stopping early. This would make it appear you used less gas than actual, as the tank would not be filled to the same level as starting point. Assuming you calculated mileage manually using this method.
    • by godrik (1287354)

      I frequently drive a mini cooper and a VW Jetta. The MPG is fairly accurate between the constructor and what I actually get (number of miles travelled divided by what the pump tell me I need to fuel it). The difference is less than 2mpg.

      What appears to make a huge difference is: AC or heating and when there is snow on the road, keeping the engine idle or the window opened.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      effects of wind resistance, effect on drag of the car's turning geometry

      Actually the NEDC tests can be carried out on a real road or rolling road, and in the latter case air resistance and vehicle inertia are accounted for.

      There are other issues with the test but that isn't one of them.

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @10:33AM (#41872143) Journal

    YMMV

    • by fermion (181285)
      But it should vary based on driving conditions. When I first got my current car I pretty much got the stated 16/23mpg. However as I learned to drive it I found I could get 20/25mpg. Sometimes if i do a lot of stop and go surface road driving I will get 18mpg. OTOH, if I take a drive on the open road for 2-3 hours I can approach 30 mpg. I don't think we are in the world of the 70's or 80's where the prediction technology is not there. For instance I rented a Subaru legacy to drive around the mountains
  • I bring my scanguage II. plug it in so I can read codes and on the t est drive see REAL gas mileage numbers. Not the overly optimistic dashboard economy number.

    I find that almost ALL cars are 2-6 mpg off from reality.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The scangauge isn't going to give you substantially more accurate readings than the trip computer in the car, when there even is one, in any but the most perplexing of situations. Its opinion of fuel delivery is based on the same information.

    • by spd_rcr (537511)

      The scanguage II gets its information from the ecu via the can-bus just like the instrument cluster on the dash, and as such, is no more accurate. The only real way to properly gauge average fuel economy is by comparing the litres or gallons put in vs. the km or miles since the last fill up.
      I will say that while the Kia we own doesn't get the claimed fuel economy that was on its window sticker, at least the speedometer doesn't read 8% higher like the '08 Mini Cooper S we traded in. The scanguage is only as

      • by Legion303 (97901)

        Both cars had the same ratings according to the window stickers, 28 city, 34 highway

        I get 32MPG (real-world mileage, not manufacturer claims) on my '95 Impreza. Auto makers are doing it wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In 2007 I bought my wife a KIA Soul
    One of the main factors was the advertised mileage.
    In our experience the mileage was not very good.
    Even my wife commented that it was barely better than our Honda Odyssey!
    Finally, earlier this year we sold it.

  • Lot of posts... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Type44Q (1233630) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:25PM (#41872849)
    ...yet no mention (that I read, anyhow) of the lower numbers caused by fuel contaminated with alcohol. Interestingly enough, I live in one of the only states (if not the only state) that requires gas stations to state whether their fuel contains ethanol or not. I've driven to each and every one of the surrounding states and people looked at me funny when I asked them if their fuel was 100% gasoline. For what it's worth, I can get gas w/10% ethanol (87 octane) for $3.03 a gallon and 100%-pure (87 octane) for $3.19 a gallon. The cost savings of running the contaminated stuff (~5%) don't even begin to make up for the greatly reduced mileage I get - on anything I've driven.
  • Suckers.

    "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man" (1939) by W.C. Fields.

    Fields plays "Larsen E. Whipsnade", the owner of a shady carnival that is constantly on the run from the law. The whimsical title comes from a line in an earlier film, in which he says that his grandfather's last words, "just before they sprung the trap", were "You can't cheat an honest man; never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump."

  • by dan14807 (162088) * on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:07PM (#41873159) Journal
    Ignore the EPA MPG ratings on cars. Go get an online Consumer Reports subscription, and see what their real-world testing revealed about MPG. I've been doing that for all of my car purchases (two recent, because I helped my girlfriend shop for hers).
    • by Solandri (704621)
      The EPA mileage ratings aren't meant to predict the mileage you'll get with a car. There's too much variance between drivers to try to predict that. The EPA ratings are meant to allow car buyers to compare the mileage of different cars. Run every car in an identical fashion through identical courses which approximate typical real-world driving, and record their mileage.

      So if the EPA rates one car at 30 MPG and another at 33 MPG, you're unlikely to get exactly 30 and 33 MPG when you drive them. But wh
  • Why not, right? I mean, it's not like there's much independant honesty in the other ads in the 2012 race.

  • Perhaps they were talking about gallons rather than US ones.
    What you call a gallon seems to be about 0.729 of a standard gallon that is 4.546 litres in size.
  • by manaway (53637) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @03:57PM (#41874263)

    Kia Motors conceded that they overstated the fuel economy on more than 1 million recently sold vehicles, and agreed to compensate owners for the additional fuel costs...

    When I make a mistake as an individual, I have to make up the difference, pay fines that are sometimes way more than the difference, get charged higher interest rates for a few years, and watch my credit score plummet. When a business makes a mistake, they pay the difference. Yet another way in which businesses aren't just legal individuals, they're better than real people.

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