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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: Ford Focus
By Keeir on 12/5/2011 7:24:08 PM , Rating: 2
So I am a bit confused.

For the majority of the time, you drive 55-65 mph for around 10 miles. During this time, you get the advertised Fuel economy.

On rare occasions, you take long trips at 70-75 mph. You get less than advertised, but still okay.

But you would prefer testing to report the fuel economy on the rare long trips, rather than the frequent short trips?

Sorry, but this doesn't make sense. Unless you drove cross country, far more miles of your driving experience has been at the "advertised" MPG right? Shouldn't the EPA testing refect the majority of miles traveled rather than the extreme conditions? Or maybe I misunderstood and you actually tend to drive long roadtrips for the majority of miles?

RE: Ford Focus
By BioHazardous on 12/5/2011 8:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
So I am a bit confused.

I consider highway driving the driving you do when on the freeway / interstate, not driving around town for short distances at 50-65 mph.

I fully realize that your best fuel economy will be at around 50 mph, but if you drive 50 mph on the freeway where the speed limit is 70 mph, you're an idiot.

The old EPA testing standard used to test to a max speed of 60 mph and the new standard was supposed to have more realistic numbers with more realistic testing. So my point is I'm finding the numbers to be less realistic for real world driving on the highway.

RE: Ford Focus
By The Raven on 12/6/2011 11:00:03 AM , Rating: 2
I fully realize that your best fuel economy will be at around 50 mph, but if you drive 50 mph on the freeway where the speed limit is 70 mph, you're an idiot.
If they all jumped off a cliff would you jump too? Bro this is America. You shouldn't have to feel like you have to go 70 in a 70 zone. Hell those Uhaul trailers aren't supposed to be driven faster than 40 or 50 I think lol. And I've never seen a minimum speed limit lower than 40.

So knock yourself out. Live a little and drop it down to 55 or so. We won't judge ;-) I think the rule in CA is if there are 5 people waiting for you, you should pull over and let them pass. Otherwise remember that we have multi-lane highways where people pass each other all the time.

And I am not Ed Beagley Jr or anything. I do 70-75 all the time so this is a judge free zone. I'm just saying that you shouldn't feel ashamed of your desire to save some money.

RE: Ford Focus
By Keeir on 12/6/2011 3:33:38 PM , Rating: 2
I am still confused.

On one hand you want to EPA "to test more like real life" but on the other you want the testing to reflect what you personally rarely do...

Data collection to date has suggested that a relatively minor percentage of US light duty passenger miles occur at 70-75 mph steady state travel.

Potentially the EPA should create a new Category of Testing cycles: Interstate.

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