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Organization claims a high number of drivers are unable to come close to mileage estimates

Most drivers know that when they buy a vehicle the estimates for fuel economy on the window stickers are just estimates. In the real world, driving the fuel economy can be much different. There has been more than the typical number of complaints about the fuel economy that Hyundai is claiming for its new Elantra.
Hyundai is claiming that the Elantra gets 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway for an combined rated of 33 mpg. The problem is that according to the higher than usual number of complaints about the efficiency of the Elantra, the real world mileage is in the mid-20 mpg range. Drivers that purchased the vehicle based in large part on the efficiency claims are understandably upset by the real world figures. 
Consumer Watchdog is asking the EPA to investigate the mileage claims for the Elantra. The letter sent to the EPA read in part:
A notable exception to this rule has caught the attention of Consumer Watchdog. For the two most recent model years, Hyundai Motors has actively marketed its base models of the Elantra on their very high 29/40 MPG, and 33 MPG average, leaving a trail of disappointed drivers. An Edmunds online Town Hall discussion on the Elantra attracted scores of drivers who can't, no matter how hard they try, duplicate such numbers. One very public example of this was USA Today tech writer Jefferson Graham, whose Sept. 22 article on his new Elantra expressed his disappointment that he averaged only 22 MPG, a gap that no "break-in" period seems likely to fill.
Consumer Watchdog also pointed out that while automotive publication Motor Trend named the 2012 Elantra a Car of the Year contender, the fuel economy it achieved in testing was only 26.5 mpg. That number was poor enough compared to estimates for Motor Trend to mention it in the review. The consumer organization is asking the EPA to retest the Elantra and if it finds the estimates Hyundai is giving aren't accurate to impose a fine on the automaker to compensate drivers.
One of the big selling pints of the Elantra was that the 40 mpg highway claim was for the normal model of the car whereas other automakers needed special trims to hit 40 mpg. Hyundai also has the Accent with the same 40 mpg claim. Chevy has touted a version of its Cruze, the Eco, which gets 40 mpg on the highway. Ford has a special version of the Focus with a claimed 40 mpg highway rating that is called the SFE.
In October of this year, Hyundai announced that it planned to offer a plug-in hybrid to go against the Prius called the Elantra Touring

Source: Consumer Watchdog

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RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By autoboy on 12/5/2011 5:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
50-60mph steady state is easier than the EPA ratings. At 60mph average speed I can get 35mpg in my VW GTI and it is rated at 31 highway. I would be surprised if you didn't get over the EPA rating at a steady state 60mph.

On average my GTI gets 29.5 mpg with a highway rating of 31. I don't know the EPA average for my car but I'm getting better than the EPA average so there is an example of a car getting better than advertised mpg. My commute is mostly freeway at 70mph but there are a lot of hills (I280 in California) and my car reports my average speed as 35mph over it's lifetime.

By Spuke on 12/5/2011 6:35:19 PM , Rating: 2
2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP (2.0L DI turbo). Rated at 19/28/22. Average is 26 mpg, mostly freeway with a total of 8 stops (lights or signs...mostly at the end of the drive). Typical all freeway is 30 mpg. Best is 33 mpg (twice on commute, once on a freeway drive averaging 60 mph). I can easily get the 28 mpg hwy number on my commute with a small modification of my driving style.

By Mint on 12/9/2011 1:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
A lot of people beat the EPA rating for their newest test. It gives much lower MPG ratings than tests in Europe for the same car (including conversion, obviously).

There seems to be something odd about this Hyundai, though. The disparity is too large to be due to driving style changes.

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