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Hyundai-Kia to pay millions for inflating fuel economy

Posted November 4, 2014

Korea’s two popular automakers face a record $350 million in penalties after accusations that they've been taking car buyers for a ride.

In 2012, automaker Hyundai Motor Company and its KIA brand admitted to overstating the fuel economy of the cars by up to 6 miles per gallon.

Two years ago, the stickers on 1.2 million vehicles made by the Korean automaker attracted the attention of the United States government. The companies misled the Environmental Protection Agency by under-reporting greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of a settlement, the companies will pay a $100 million fine, $50 million to help set up an independent fuel-economy certification program and forfeit more than $200 million in environmental credits.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calls the action unprecedented.

"This will send a strong message that cheating is not profitable and that any company that violates the law will be held to account," Holder said.

Hyundai denies violating the law. It had attributed the initial inflated mileage on honest misinterpretation of the EPA's complex rules.

Consumer Reports raised flags years ago, saying its analysis found optimistic fuel economy claims were too common.

The organization said Tuesday that the settlement should go a long way toward ensuring consumers get more accurate fuel economy estimates on all cars.


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  • James Robbins Nov 5, 2014
    user avatar

    All of the car makers indicate mileage you will not get. Always check web sites for real world mileage reported by users.

  • lucasd06 Nov 5, 2014

    Yup--I'm getting an ~$80 gift card per year just for owning my 2013 KIA Sorento. No complaints from me!

  • Dennis Midkiff Nov 5, 2014
    user avatar

    Fuel economy is such a subject measurement anyhow. The EPA themselves changed the way MPG was calculated in 2007. My 2006 Saturn SUV had 20c/28h on the window sticker, but the EPA 'revised' it in 2007 to 18c/25h. Where's my check?