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Drivers also have the option of accepting the debit card payments instead

After admitting that it overstated fuel economy ratings for some of its models last year, Hyundai has now agreed to settle its U.S. lawsuits.

A filing, which was revealed today, showed that Hyundai agreed to general terms of a settlement earlier this month. No financial terms have been disclosed, so it is unclear what Hyundai will have to pay under the settlement.

The proposed settlement gives owners of Hyundai models with misstated fuel economy ratings the choice to either continue accepting money through the debit card plan (which offers periodic payments to a credit card) or receive a lump sum settlement payout.

Payout amounts will depend on the difference in fuel economy from the actual figure to the overstated figure. Those with previously rated 40 MPG models -- like the Accent, Elantra, Veloster and Sonata Hybrid -- are expected to get a larger payout than those with under 40 MPG.

Hyundai said it had set aside about $225 million for its owner compensation plans.

Kia was also busted for overstating fuel economy ratings for some of its models, but the automaker was not a part of Hyundai's settlement. However, Kia was invited to join the settlement and is currently reviewing the terms.

Back in December 2011, Consumer Watchdog called on the EPA to investigate Hyundai over its fuel economy claims. Hyundai claimed that its Elantra achieved 29 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on highway. However, the organization received a higher-than-usual number of complaints that real-world mileage was in the mid-20 mpg range.

The EPA investigated Hyundai for misleading mileage claims and found that the fuel economy estimates of most of its 2012-2013 models were overstated. It made the same conclusion for Kia, and both automakers said they would lower the fuel economy estimates on the majority of their 2012 to 2013 models.

Hyundai and Kia admitted to overstating the estimated fuel economy on window stickers of about 900,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. since late 2010. Some of the MPG window stickers that will required include the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Soul ECO. The Accent had its 30/40/33 (city/highway/combined) rating drop to 28/37/31. The Kia Soul ECO saw the biggest drop of any affected model going from 27/35/30 to 24/29/26.

Kia said it has set aside about $187 million for its owner compensation plans.

Source: Automotive News

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Low payout for big profit
By Trisped on 2/27/2013 7:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
Hyundai said it had set aside about $225 million for its owner compensation plans.
Hyundai and Kia admitted to overstating the estimated fuel economy on window stickers of about 900,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. since late 2010.
Kia said it has set aside about $187 million for its owner compensation plans.

So $412 million for 900,000 vehicles works out to about $460 per vehicle.
Sounds like they are getting off for a song to me.

RE: Low payout for big profit
By Zeock9 on 2/27/2013 8:37:01 PM , Rating: 2
An average of 2 combined mpg difference, assuming you drive 10,000 miles a year at $3.50 a gallon, will net you about $60 to $70 loss per year - a payout of $460 per car covers about 5~8 years worth of gas price difference.

So I wouldn't necessarily call it a 'low payout', considering an average car ownership length in the US is only about 57 months.

RE: Low payout for big profit
By Reclaimer77 on 2/27/2013 8:43:58 PM , Rating: 3
When you put it like that, the whole thing does seem absurd. If the owners wanted to, they could squeeze a measly 2 mpg more out of that car.

RE: Low payout for big profit
By chekk4 on 2/27/2013 10:35:09 PM , Rating: 3
However, that's not any 2 mpg difference over 10,000 miles that equals $60 to $70 more per year. The 2 mpg difference costing $60-70 you mention is likely for the Accent: from 33 mpg to 31 mpg. Then, over 10,000 miles, the extra cost is $69.
If the 2 mpg difference was instead from 30 to 28 mpg over 10,000 miles, then the extra cost would be $84.
The difference for the Kia Soul, from 30 to 26 mpg over 10,000 miles is $180 which is considerably less trivial.

RE: Low payout for big profit
By Florinator on 2/28/2013 9:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the payments are the same for everybody. Maybe they offer higher refunds for those affected more. But on average, it looks like the math checks out. I'm pretty sure Hyundai must have some accountants that are good at math...

RE: Low payout for big profit
By daboom06 on 2/28/2013 12:26:03 PM , Rating: 2
it's not just the gas price difference. some people probably bought the car instead of some other brand because of its posted mpg. the compensation should be for how much a similar car that had that true mpg would have cost.

you pay more for a more efficient car because it takes more money/smarts to build/design it.

RE: Low payout for big profit
By KITH on 2/28/2013 2:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
According to the source article the lump sum can also be taken as a service credit for 1.5 times the amount or used towards a new car purchase for 2 times the amount.

By talikarni on 2/27/2013 8:02:19 PM , Rating: 2
Most companies do their testing with 10% Ethanol based gasoline and publish the numbers accordingly.... but the EPA mandates have not been updated yet and do not have that requirement.
Thus many vehicles testing with non-ethanol gasoline means they could have easily reached those numbers. Most vehicles see a 5-15% mpg drop when using 8-10% Ethanol blends, and possibly more if the individual fuel station adds some of their own additives.
Even in my beast it makes a big difference. Had a road trip a month ago, and one full tank saw 23mpg (highway) with Ethanol-free fuel, yet the tank full runs before and after it only saw 20 mpg with "up to" 10% ethanol fuel (weather, speed and driving style was same the entire trip).

RE: Ethanol
By Mint on 2/27/2013 9:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
Most vehicles see a 5-15% mpg drop when using 8-10% Ethanol blends
BS. That means the ethanol has almost no energy, or even negative energy. The real value is 2-3%, right in line with the reduced energy content of ethanol.

Your "test" means jack. You did one trip without controlling any variables and attributed the entire difference to ethanol.

RE: Ethanol
By chick0n on 2/28/2013 8:54:00 AM , Rating: 2
so many real world testing out there that shows yep 10% or MORE drop in mpg.

one of the biggest problem is ethanol attract water.

RE: Ethanol
By Mint on 2/28/2013 10:56:05 AM , Rating: 3
Real-world reports mean nothing if you only hear about the guys posting on forums (self selected anomalous results) using flawed measurement methods.

When someone has an understanding of statistics, they get results like this:
Even with 10 tanks of measurements, the ~2% difference he found was deemed statistically insignificant (p=0.56, far from the general standard of p<0.05).

There have been many studies on this. In Finland it was found to be only ~1% difference between E5 and E10:
NBC15 did some investigative journalism with a truck owner who was convinced E10 would be worse than E0, but it wound up being the opposite:
Again, poor test methodology.

You'll always find exceptions, but the vast majority of cars in the last 10 years, including the Hyundais of this article, will see little difference.

RE: Ethanol
By Nutzo on 2/28/2013 1:42:50 PM , Rating: 2
In the real world, it depends alot on the car, and how the engine handles the lower energy in an Ethanol mix.

In Califonia, all we have available is 10% Ethanol. Took a trip last year and was able to fill up with 100% Gas a couple times and saw a noticable increase in milage in our Toyota Sienna, around 10%-15% both times. On the way back, we filled up in Vegas with 10%, and noticed an imidiate drop in milage.

As for "controlling any variables", when I can look at the log I kept, and it's completely obvious (based on MPG) which 2 tanks of gas didn't have ethanol in them, I don't need a controled test. The only thing a controlled test would tell me is how bad the drop in milage was, not if there was a drop.

RE: Ethanol
By Rukkian on 2/28/2013 4:19:31 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it depends on the engine and whether is it optimized. I have an HHR that takes flex fuel, and going from e10 to e85, I loose about 18% fuel economy. Normally there is not that much difference in cost here in Iowa, but when it goes above 20%, I actually do use e85, but those times are rare.

Most studies show anywhere from 2-5% when you go to 10%.

By soulcarver on 2/27/2013 6:58:25 PM , Rating: 3
"... the automaker was not apart of Hyundai's settlement."

"... the automaker was not a part of Hyundai's settlement."

Fuel economy tests
By roykahn on 2/27/2013 9:27:31 PM , Rating: 3
I think fuel economy testing should be done in the same way as safety testing in many countries. Have an independent organization do the testing and report those figures. There's far too much incentive for manufacturers to fudge the numbers.

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