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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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Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/5/2011 1:43:21 PM , Rating: 4
I guess I am confused about who came up with the data to make the claim. When someone buys a car, I think they will look at the EPA numbers. If this number was 22 mpg or something like that then it doesn't matter if Hyundai said that it was going to be 40 mpg, I wouldn't buy the car.

It seems that in advertisements the makers cite the EPA numbers. Not just their own.

So because of this I am assuming that the EPA is at fault here at least partially.

Can someone please extrapolate on what the sticker said?




RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/5/2011 1:51:54 PM , Rating: 5
Answering my own question:
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?acti...

EPA test show these numbers. Not Hyundai's. So how much is Hyundai to blame (I say at least some). But stupid consumers + stupid gov't = cash money for lawyers.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By MonkeyPaw on 12/5/2011 1:59:53 PM , Rating: 4
Classic case of whatever a regulating body sets as a standard for testing, manufacturers will tune thier products for that test.

I can see how Hyundai got these results, as my Focus CAN get 40mpg by running 65mph, it actually gets much closer to 30 combined, and as low as 27mpg in the city.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/5/2011 2:28:49 PM , Rating: 2
So the EPA stripped everything out of the Civic, Corolla, AND Elantra to get great numbers? I don't follow. Why would the EPA do this?


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By MonkeyPaw on 12/5/2011 3:19:50 PM , Rating: 2
You misunderstand. The EPA didn't "do" this, but they do set a standard for how cars get rated for fuel economy. Auto makers can tune cars to score well under those conditions, largely by transmission tuning. Its the same story for crash testing, because high MPG and 5-star crash results sell cars. Thats why the testing requirements and methods are just as critical as the test results.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/5/2011 4:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I think I understand what you are saying now. Yeah this really makes the EPA look stupid then. It is like if the FDA said that you can't poison people and GSK gives them a sample to test and pass the "poison test" then sell something completely different.

So the FDA puts their stamp of approval of the poisoned drug and 1000s die. Those 1000s would've been better without the endorsemnt.

I know it is a dark example but my point is that I think people wouldn't have bought these Elantras if there wasn't an EPA sticker on there. I think they would be better off with a Consumer Reports sticker or something that actually makes sense.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By MonkeyPaw on 12/5/2011 5:30:15 PM , Rating: 1
Well, it also furthers the point that just because a governing body determines the testing methods, it doesn't mean you should use only the results of those values. This isn't a toaster, it's a several thousand dollar car that should last you anywhere from 5-15 years. I would read at least one review, if not as many as I could find from reputable sources (MotorTrend, Road&Track, Automobile, Autoweek), and then I'd read owner reviews. No government rating is going to be as good as what professionals and real users can provide.

This isn't the EPA's issue, or Hyundai's. It's a classic case of "buyer beware," but in our never-lose society, people demand lawsuits and big-government to rescue them.


By anactoraaron on 12/6/2011 9:29:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's a classic case of "buyer beware," but in our never-lose society, people demand lawsuits and big-government to rescue them.


I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to say here. Are you saying that companies can make outrageous unsubstantiated claims about their product with little or zero consequence?

Yeah it's fine that there are people like yourself that check multiple sources (which may or may not be accurate) before making a big purchase, but in reality sales are more about brand/name recognition and advertising. Lately Hyundai has been trying to make a name for themselves by these claims of fuel efficiency. That's the problem.


By nolisi on 12/6/2011 5:49:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but in our never-lose society, people demand lawsuits and big-government to rescue them.


Why should it be anything other than "never-lose"? When you make any substantial financial deal in the free market, the deliverables should match the bill of sale. Are you advocating it should be otherwise? Because that notion destroys the legitimacy of the ideals of a free market which include efficiency in commerce and fair trade.

Understanding that things like weather and road conditions can affect realworld mileage is one thing, but when you can't deliver on your claims to a substantial number of consumers, that kills the idea of fair trade in the market. The subsequent backlash then hurts efficiency in the market. I think these ideas ar bigger than any individual seller on the free market. Otherwise you have a market governed by corporate interests rather than fair trade. At best this is oligarchy/corporatocracy and at worst it's a mild form of communism that happens to be run by agents who advocate free market ideas.


By idiot77 on 12/5/2011 10:50:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well... the EPA lowered the estimate on my '11 Fiesta down from 40 MPG (Ford's original claim) to 37-38 MPG and I get a little bit better or worse just depending on temperature. When it's hot it's 37-38, when it's 50-60's it's 42, and when it's cold it's about 38-39. All highway #s. In city is a very reliable better than advertised 33-35 MPG.

Go figure.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/5/2011 2:02:07 PM , Rating: 5
If I recall correctly, the EPA only tests a small number of vehicles. The manufacturers are actually the ones that test the vehicles based on the EPA guidelines and submit the ratings.

I'm guessing that Hyundai is mucking around with the transmission shift points (at least on auto trannies) to "ace" the EPA tests.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/5/2011 2:17:47 PM , Rating: 3
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/how_tested.shtml
quote:
Manufacturers test their own vehicles—usually pre-production prototypes—and report the results to EPA. EPA reviews the results and confirms about 10-15 percent of them through their own tests at the National Vehicles and Fuel Emissions Laboratory.

So someone at the EPA was busy jacking off or something while these test were 'confirmed'? Or was someone paid off to look the other way? I know Hyundai may be dirty here, but it looks like we should get rid of this part of the EPA since Motortrend is doing a better job (and for free to boot).

Unless the EPA is also mucking around with the ratios then that is irrelevant. There is no "acing" of tests at the EPA from what this is saying.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By Jedi2155 on 12/6/2011 6:07:56 AM , Rating: 1
It can be extremely expensive to test so unless you want to fund the EPA to do it better.....

Not to mention that the variation between reviewers can be drastic. Just look at these comparison numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt#Review...


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/6/2011 10:35:19 AM , Rating: 2
You do understand that you are coughing up evidence against your point right? That list you have there...it has the EPA as one of the sources. How much did you pay for all of the others? $0 I'm guessing (unless you have a C&D sub or something).

It is extremely expensive to test...if the EPA is doing it, because it seems completely unneccesary since you have all these other testers out there.

Yes the numbers are drastic since they all have different testing methods and conditions (e.g. hypermiling vs. 'normal style driving'). Reliable numbers from one of these sources is better than the dog and pony show that the EPA is putting on with their tests of prototypes.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By nolisi on 12/6/2011 6:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Reliable numbers from one of these sources is better than the dog and pony show that the EPA is putting on with their tests of prototypes.


These sources don't test every car out there. Just the hot ones making the front pages.

If these sources tested every car put to market, I might agree.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/7/2011 1:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
What cars are you talking about? Chevy Volt is "hot"? The toyota Corolla? These are basic cars, not Lambos.

Pretty much every car out there is tested by at least someone.

That aside, assuming that the EPA's tests are as effective as this article points out, you would be better off not having the EPA running these tests and putting magic stickers on cars to potentially mislead consumers.


By Jedi2155 on 12/10/2011 6:10:12 AM , Rating: 2
I think the EPA needs to improve their testing and reporting methodology better represent the average driver.

The ultimate problem is that they report only a city, and highway for a single driver type rather than a range of values as it is in the real world. Putting in too many numbers tends to confuse the consumers, so in the end what do you really want? No number at all? A meta score from a variety of sources would be best, but as I originally pointed out, it is expensive.

The primary issue with the Hyundai it appears is that the design of the vehicle seems to do particularly well on the EPA's rather lax test which has only an average speed of 48 mph on the highway section AND the engine starts warm which has a HUGE impact on average MPG.

An example of the huge impact of warm initial temperatures is my personal experience from my 2003 Civic LX would get 40 MPG on a 40 mile 65-70 MPH high way commute, but due the huge loss required in warming the engine, it only gets an 35 MPG average. While its true, that the values can be misleading as I tend to exceed the EPA values significantly as the Civic I mentioned above is only rated at 29 MPG combined compared to my 35 MPG average (data collected over 35,000 miles and 104 fill ups), it is still useful as a base value.


By woofersus on 12/5/2011 2:21:28 PM , Rating: 2
That's true. There is some self-certification going on that has to be policed to make sure the manufacturers follow EPA guidelines.

All manufacturers do some amount of tuning to suit the EPA tests and make their tested results look as good as possible. (although it's worth noting that new EPA test guidelines took effect a couple of years ago that are supposed to better reflect real world driving and they did indeed cause lower mileage numbers for some models) The problem is that this car seems to have a higher than average gap between tested and real-world conditions, as demonstrated by the higher than average number of complaints. It seems something else is up.

My guess would be that they are either using a different set of programming with the engine and/or transmission than the official for-sale version, as you suggested, or they did some of the things that the other Automakers (notably GM with the Cruze and Ford with the Focus) did with their high mileage variants, like using special low rolling resistance tires that don't come with the Elantra being sold on lots, and making small aerodynamic optimizations like blocking grill openings.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By dsx724 on 12/5/2011 3:56:33 PM , Rating: 1
I own a Sonata (35MPG rated) and I can easily get 42MPG cruising on the highway with constant engine load (between 50-60MPH). The locking auto tranny is very efficient in locked mode and inefficient in unlocked mode like all regular auto trannies (wasting 5-15% of engine output).

People are also too lazy (I know I am) to drive efficiently so they step on the pedal for a while and then let go for a while and that is incredible inefficient because you're constantly shifting energy between the car's momentum and the engine through the transmission so all the losses apply.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/5/2011 5:18:04 PM , Rating: 2
I own a2011 Sonata 2.0t. It's rated at 22/33/26 (city/highway/combined). Although my combined numbers are pretty much in line with where they should be, I have NEVER, EVER gotten 33 mpg on the highway after over a year with the car and 15,000 miles. That's even when I set the cruise and do between 65mph and 70mph.

The highest I've gotten was 30.65 mpg (which was my most recent trip over Thanksgiving weekend).

As you can see, I keep detailed records of my fill-ups (the onboard computer is optimistic by at least 3 mpg). Here's a year's worth of fill-up logs:

http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/7096/fr61size64...


By Keeir on 12/5/2011 7:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
I had a rental Elantra for a while. Cruise Control was -aweful- and I got better MPG without it. Still only ~35 at the pump. So I can see why people would be annoyed. I get ~28 at the pump for my 18/26 car.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By Solandri on 12/5/2011 8:38:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I own a2011 Sonata 2.0t. It's rated at 22/33/26 (city/highway/combined). Although my combined numbers are pretty much in line with where they should be, I have NEVER, EVER gotten 33 mpg on the highway after over a year with the car and 15,000 miles. That's even when I set the cruise and do between 65mph and 70mph .

That will do it. The EPA highway figure is derived from a test which (except for the start and stop and some brief periods in between) is between 50-60 mph. Air resistance increases as roughly the cube of speed, so 65-70 mph requires significantly more energy. Looking at mpg vs. speed curves, a 10%-15% drop going from 55mph to 65-70 mpg is about what you should expect. This is the reason the government lowered the speed limit to 55 mph in response to the 1973 Arab oil embargo.

http://www.theoildrum.com/uploads/12/mpg_vs_speed....
(You can google for these, there are tons of them out there.)


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/5/2011 8:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The EPA highway figure is derived from a test which (except for the start and stop and some brief periods in between) is between 50-60 mph.

I'm sorry, but I think you're wrong here. 55-60 was for the old, pre-2008 EPA standards. The 2008 standards, which caused MPG to drop across the board, took into account higher freeway speeds:

quote:
The reason why fuel economy estimates have been coming out too high is simple: The EPA-specified testing and reporting method has not been updated since 1985. Since then, a lot has changed. For one thing, the former national speed limit of 55 mph has been abolished. So instead of topping out at 60 mph, the new highway rating test includes speeds up to 80 mph.


http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/explained-2008...


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By omnicronx on 12/5/2011 9:03:00 PM , Rating: 2
There are also many other factors involved than just speed and it certainly changes car to car, and depending on configuration.

A 6 speed transmission for example will most likely have better highway mileage than a 5 speed at those speeds because you are sitting at lower RPM even in the exact same vehicle.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/5/2011 9:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
My car has a 6-speed auto, and at 70 mph it's turning 2,000 rpm.


By omnicronx on 12/5/2011 9:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
Figured as much, I don't think that 2.0T comes in anything but.. I was just trying to point out that even at 65-75, the conditions can be ideal (or close to it) for mileage depending on the vehicle.


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.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By Samus on 12/6/11, Rating: -1
Ford Focus
By BioHazardous on 12/5/2011 1:49:02 PM , Rating: 3
I got a 2012 Ford Focus instead of an Audi A3 TDI because it was less money and nearly the same fuel economy. I had a TDI Jetta before which did nicely with fuel economy even for the way I drove it back then. With my new car I was going to try and do my best to get the most out of fuel economy just for my own personal amusement with experiments.

I mainly drove it with a mix of city / highway where I'd be on the highway for at most 10 miles driving 55-65 mph. Fuel economy was good for those short trips on the highway under 65 mph, around 37 mpg which is what they advertise for my model.

I took my first real roadtrip about a month ago and then again over Thanksgiving. I averaged between 70 mph and 75 mph. I tried one 300 mile leg of my trip with cruise control at 70 mph and got 32 mpg (5 below EPA estimates). I got 30 mpg at 75 mph cruise setting for another 300 mile leg.

I'm glad this article came out though because I started questioning whether it was just me or some flawed testing. I thought the whole new EPA measures of fuel economy were supposed to be a more real world mix with things like highway driving being 70 mph.

Had I known the car wouldn't get over 32 mpg at 70mph then I'd have just stuck with my Jetta and not gotten a new car. I used to do those drives at 80-95 mph in my Jetta and still got 26-28 mpg. Why in the world did I buy a new car that's supposed to be tested to a more real world standard and claims 37 mpg highway to get something barely better than my 2004 Jetta?

I normally live with my purchase decisions and don't get buyer's remorse.. but I have to say I'm feeling a bit cheated.




RE: Ford Focus
By The Raven on 12/5/2011 2:07:43 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Had I known the car wouldn't get over 32 mpg at 70mph then I'd have just stuck with my Jetta and not gotten a new car. I used to do those drives at 80-95 mph in my Jetta and still got 26-28 mpg. Why in the world did I buy a new car that's supposed to be tested to a more real world standard and claims 37 mpg highway to get something barely better than my 2004 Jetta?
I'm sorry (Really. Not just saying this to be a punk.) but you should know that different cars perform differently at different speeds. That is unless that all are shaped the same drive the same, etc. There are so many factors to determine your mileage and that is why the EPA numbers are estimates. There are a lot of people out there who think the gov't should brand every car with a number and then we can all make our decisions based off of that, but we all have different tastes and weights and climates and driving styles etc.

It sounds to me that you let your guard down because of these magic one-size fits all numbers that the gov't comes up with. Read MT, R&T, CR, etc. and then make your decision. Don't just rely on that sticker.

And BTW, my understanding is that 50-60 is closer to the optimal speed for maximum fuel economy. Of course this varies model by model but 55 seems to be a good rule of thumb.

http://duckduckgo.com/?q=best+fuel+economy+speed


RE: Ford Focus
By Stuka on 12/5/2011 3:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming level ground, in practice, RPM is the only factor in economy. The lowest RPM you can achieve in the highest gear for the speed you want will net you the best economy. There are obvious variables, ie. wind, hills, turns, throttle position, but the only practical control point is RPM.

My DSG will hit 6th gear around 45mph which puts the revs near 1800; which just happens to be the point before the turbo starts spooling. If I remember correctly, cruising at 45mph in 6th gives an instant economy easily in the 50s.


RE: Ford Focus
By Solandri on 12/5/2011 8:51:40 PM , Rating: 1
No, RPM determines at what point in the engine's efficiency curve you're operating. If your engine operates at peak efficiency at low RPM, then low RPM will help improve mileage. If its peak efficiency is at a higher RPM, then a low RPM will actually hurt mileage.

For energy needed to move the car, it's almost entirely dependent on velocity (assuming steady state speed). You have two main sources of energy consumption:

- A steady "hotel load" below which the engine's fuel consumption cannot drop (i.e. you're still burning that much stopped at a red light). The faster you go, the less of this energy you use per distance covered. So faster is better.

- Air resistance. This goes as roughly the cube of your velocity at high speeds, so the faster you go, the more energy you use per distance covered. So slower is better.

When you add these two together, both slow and high speeds consume more fuel. 40-50 mph is about where the sum of these two yield the least energy required per distance traveled. That's considered unbearably slow for highway travel, so the speed limit was set at 55 mph when the country was trying to cut oil usage.


RE: Ford Focus
By Spuke on 12/5/2011 9:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When you add these two together, both slow and high speeds consume more fuel. 40-50 mph is about where the sum of these two yield the least energy required per distance traveled.
Depends on the car. Mine is in 4th (5 speed) at those speeds and that's definitely not where I get my best mpg. Between 60-65 mph is where my best mpg happens but I have been able to mix it up a little (a few miles of stop and go) and still get my best mpg.


RE: Ford Focus
By steven975 on 12/6/2011 1:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
I won't rate you down for this, but your assertion of RPM being the prime factor is false. The prime determinant is really the amount of air going through the motor. More air means more gas. In many ways, MPG is determined more by fuel consumption over time. Gearing, drag, engine displacement, and engine design all affect that.

My S2000 runs 4000RPM in 6th gear at 75mph, but returns better-than-rated highway MPG of 27MPG. Doing 4000RPM constantly in most cars will overheat the oil and/or make mileage go into the 10s. Some of it is due to some power and efficiency upgrades I've made, but it met the EPA number without it.

At 4000RPM, I don't need to press the throttle as much, so less air per stroke is coming in. At lower speeds, I need to use more throttle in 6th gear, so mileage is in the same ballpark. I've tested numerous cruising speeds from 60-80 and they're pretty much the same except when I approach 80 and drop 1-2MPG.

My engine is most efficient at higher RPMs, because it has a ported head, huge valves with high lift, and a low-mass forged rotating assembly. An engine with long intake runners, small valves with low lift, and a heavier cast rotating assembly will be more efficient at lower RPMs and get good mileage at that range.


RE: Ford Focus
By BioHazardous on 12/5/2011 5:24:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
you should know that different cars perform differently at different speeds.


Hence the EPA's testing standards and the changes they made in 2007 to them to more accurately reflect real world conditions. I wouldn't expect EPA estimates to go from fairly accurate in 2004 to over estimating in 2007 with changes meant to reduce those estimates from years prior to 2007.

quote:
It sounds to me that you let your guard down because of these magic one-size fits all numbers that the gov't comes up with.


The government didn't come up with these numbers, the manufacturers did. They didn't just arbitrarily say it's this size car so it gets x MPG because of some government guide to lying about real world fuel economy.


RE: Ford Focus
By The Raven on 12/6/2011 10:51:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hence the EPA's testing standards and the changes they made in 2007 to them to more accurately reflect real world conditions.
Who's real world conditions? You missed my point I think.
quote:
The government didn't come up with these numbers, the manufacturers did.
Yes they did and the gov't checked them and said, "Yup, you guys are right on the money! We'll endorse your car with our seal of accuracy!"


RE: Ford Focus
By BioHazardous on 12/6/2011 11:29:40 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Who's real world conditions? You missed my point I think.

*whose
I got your point and you seem to be missing mine. 70 mph is real world conditions. MN and Iowa both have interstate speed limits of 70 mph.

quote:
Yes they did and the gov't checked them

Checked isn't the same as actually doing the testing. People 'check' a lot of things without actually checking anything.


RE: Ford Focus
By The Raven on 12/7/2011 1:55:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Checked isn't the same as actually doing the testing. People 'check' a lot of things without actually checking anything.
Correct. This is what I am saying. You left out the important part
quote:
and [the gov't] said, "Yup, you guys are right on the money! We'll endorse your car with our seal of accuracy!"
This is why you were mislead. Because of this number that the EPA put on the window.
quote:
I got your point and you seem to be missing mine. 70 mph is real world conditions [sic]. MN and Iowa both have interstate speed limits of 70 mph.
70mph may be real world conditions, but do it for 300 miles and it no longer is. The EPA says that they factor in speeds up to 80mph. We don't know at what distance, and that is an important factor.

I'm not going to argue with you about what the number or conditions should be, I was just pointing out that it sounds like you let your guard down because of these numbers that the manufs and gov't collectively come up with. You should've checked C&D and others where they let you know specifics of their testing methods and they do them independent of the manufs (or political agendas). You are the one saying that you feel cheated. I agree. Screw the EPA. Don't defend their deception. (All this said, I find EPA estimates to be relatively accurate based on personal exp. I just think this is completely unnecessary.)


RE: Ford Focus
By MonkeyPaw on 12/5/2011 5:38:32 PM , Rating: 2
I've tested the best fuel economy speed on an isolated long stretch of paved road (straight as an arrow for miles). I just kept reseting my MPG meter on my 2010 Focus to see what was the optimal speed for best MPG. Sure enough, about 50-55mph was best, bringing 50MPG. At 60-65MPH, I got about 40MPG, and 70MPH brings in 35MPG. The Focus is a pretty slippery car, but aerodynamics can only take you so far.


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
quote:
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
quote:
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.


RE: Ford Focus
By Solandri on 12/5/2011 8:58:48 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I'm glad this article came out though because I started questioning whether it was just me or some flawed testing. I thought the whole new EPA measures of fuel economy were supposed to be a more real world mix with things like highway driving being 70 mph.

It bears repeating: The EPA mileage figures are not meant to be a predictor of what fuel mileage you will get with a car. While it's possible to duplicate the EPA mileage if you match their test pattern exactly, personal driving habits and vehicle maintenance patterns will alter the mileage you get.

The EPA mileage is meant to assist you in choosing between vehicles. If one car is rated at 20 mpg and another at 25 mpg, then you know to expect about 25% more mileage out of the second car. This could mean you get 19 mpg instead of 15 mpg. Or it could mean you get 30 mpg instead of 24 mpg. The EPA isn't trying to tell you what mpg you're going to get. They're trying to tell you the ratio of mileage you should expect from the two vehicles.


RE: Ford Focus
By BioHazardous on 12/6/2011 8:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It bears repeating:


Then it also bears repeating that the new EPA testing standards were supposed to be more realistic with real world driving, not less as they appear to be from my tests.


RE: Ford Focus
By Dr of crap on 12/6/2011 10:26:43 AM , Rating: 2
The real problem is that you SPENT money on a new car, you didn't say if the Jetta needed replacing, to get better mpg's. You would have to get real high mpg numbers to save enough on fuel to justify what you just did, let alone the fact that you BELEIVED the EPA sticker would be exactly what you would get mpg wise.

You would have been better off keeping your old car even at $4 gallon gas!


RE: Ford Focus
By BioHazardous on 12/6/2011 11:24:36 AM , Rating: 2
You're making this an issue about money, and it's not. My buyer's remorse isn't because I spent money on a new car, it's that my new car doesn't come close to the advertised fuel economy. People can sit here and say it's an estimate and not to be expected all day long.. that doesn't change the fact that my Jetta actually achieved its advertised fuel economy and was tested with methods less realistic than the latest methods my new Focus should have been tested to.

I still have my Jetta and am driving it now. It's my winter car now.

I also did a shorter roadtrip earlier this year to a state park about 70 miles away and averaged 55-65mph and still got only 33 mpg.


RE: Ford Focus
By ElFenix on 12/6/2011 4:10:31 PM , Rating: 2
i think you've done something wrong with your calculations. there's practically no way that mixed driving can return better mileage than steady state highway driving at legal speeds.


RE: Ford Focus
By Targon on 12/7/2011 7:28:09 AM , Rating: 2
I also have a 2012 Focus(5-door SEL), and from what I have seen, at 60MPH, you can hit 40MPG, which goes down to 33MPG at 70mph. If you find a lot of your driving is in the 32-42MPH range, that will drive your fuel economy WAY up. Testing at 35MPH and no traffic lights or stop signs will have fuel economy going up over 50MPG.

My own average is between 31 and 35MPG daily, depending on the road conditions.

One thing to consider here is that if you have a car that has a weak engine, or a diesel, you will have an easier time getting those great fuel economy numbers. The 2012 Focus(not 2011 or earlier) has a 160 horsepower engine and holds the road VERY well. I may be a LITTLE biased as an owner, but compared to what you get with most other cars in the compact class, the Focus really is a good deal. Unless you went with a Titanium and lots of features to push the price upwards of $25,000, I can't see having buyers remorse here. Not everything is about fuel economy, and the Focus is pretty close to getting the advertised fuel economy. 28/38 for the S/SE trim, 27/37 for the SEL/Titanium trim.


RE: Ford Focus
By BioHazardous on 12/7/2011 9:56:05 AM , Rating: 2
I have the Titanium with everything on it except the backup camera.

I do alright with it for fuel economy driving to and from work with that mix of in town and short distances on the highway. I get about 30-31 mpg for the around town stuff which is why it's so frustrating to only get 32 mpg on the highway. It's not very difficult to do math at the pump, miles divided by gallons.. I do it every tank.


EPA
By btc909 on 12/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: EPA
By FITCamaro on 12/5/2011 10:43:38 PM , Rating: 1
Hyundai's cheap ass cars are why I don't buy a Hyundai. That and their blatant rip offs of other companies vehicles.


RE: EPA
By Spuke on 12/5/2011 11:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hyundai's cheap ass cars are why I don't buy a Hyundai. That and their blatant rip offs of other companies vehicles.
You're kidding right?


RE: EPA
By tng on 12/6/2011 8:31:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You're kidding right?
Well to be fair, some of the previous models did look allot like similar Honda models, but the king of ripoff, in my opinion, is Lexus.

I once followed a Mercedes and a Lexus in traffic once and the only difference I could see from the rear was the name badge.


RE: EPA
By The Raven on 12/6/2011 11:08:10 AM , Rating: 2
I remember noticing this also. They had a Sonata that looked like a Volvo (had those signature Volvo curves on the side and everything). Then there was something that looked just like a Civic.

When we bought our Civic I laughed because the guy tried to say that it looked just like a bimmer from behind. And thought I agree the styling was similar, it was not as much as a blatant ripoff as the Hyundais I had seen.

Oh and I remember the RX-7 that looked just like a mini Viper lol

But I have no opinion of who is worst with my limited knowledge lol.


RE: EPA
By Spuke on 12/6/2011 2:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well to be fair, some of the previous models did look allot like similar Honda models, but the king of ripoff, in my opinion, is Lexus.
I can understand that but the world and Hyundai has moved on. Their quality has MUCH improved and their designs aren't copying anyone's. Who cares what they did before? They're not doing that now. I'd buy most of their line up in a heartbeat. Currently looking into a used Genesis sedan.


No issue here
By Oompah100 on 12/6/2011 4:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 2011 Hyundai Elantra and I am averaging 34 MPG combined. I regularly achieve over 40mpg on the Highway. People are using the trip computer instead of actually calculating through fuel usage. That is where the discrepancy comes from. Consumer reports, in testing the Elantra, came up with 39 MPG Highway and 32MPG combined. So I really do not see a discrepancy, but more so, people that do not know how to measure MPG.




RE: No issue here
By slippyrocks on 12/6/2011 8:24:09 PM , Rating: 2
yeah im sure the car is fine just ford & chevy people complaining because they cant be the only 40mpg car

straight from the epa site

Quick acceleration and heavy braking can reduce fuel economy by up to 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent around town.
Operating the air conditioner on "Max" can reduce MPG by roughly 5–25%
Excessive idling decreases MPG. [substantially]


Many variables
By Beenthere on 12/5/2011 4:44:53 PM , Rating: 1
There are many variables when it comes to actual mpg. Obviously the numbers that Hyundai is claiming better be possible in the EPA test. I will say however that 29 mpg city is extremely optimistic IME so there could be some fudging of data and if so then thay should be heavily fined.

Testing has shown that driving style can alter mpg by ~30% so maybe these owners could use some driving lessons also.




RE: Many variables
By twhittet on 12/5/2011 4:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
Someone else mentioned shift points - and I believe that is probably a big part of how they got such great numbers. From the reviews I've seen, this car easily downshifts and feels "snappy" because it does so. In the EPA test, I'm sure any such downshifting is avoided as much as possible.

So - in real life, the transmission is often downshifting with higher revs than in the test, resulting in significant real world driving differences.


Concur with this...
By tng on 12/5/2011 1:33:10 PM , Rating: 2
I had one in October as a rental for a couple of weeks and found that even with long driving distances, the best I could get was about 35mpg highway. I tried to get the best out of the car by being light on the pedal as well, but it just did not have anywhere near 40mpg in it as far as I could tell.

Overall, besides the neon red/blue dash illumination that Hyndai always seems to prefer, it was a solid car.




not true
By HisSvt76 on 12/5/2011 6:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
I own a 2011 Elantra GLS and around town sit at between 30-32mpg in a 25 mile stop and go commute to work. The few times ive taken the car on long trips it easily has gone right up to 38 to 39 mpg and that is cruising at 65+. They are not making the number up but this car is slower to go unless you push it more that is why most dont see the mileage. My wife has a 2011 sonata it gets about what it is rated for as well. it is easier to get in her car since it doesnt take much pedal to move out her 200hp vs the elantra 148hp. people just mash the gas too much.




say it aint so!
By shin0bi272 on 12/6/2011 12:23:20 AM , Rating: 2
a car company (chevy volt) fudging the numbers(chevy volt) to jump up their mileage claims(chevy volt)? NOOO(chevy volt) that would never(chevy volt) happen!




low gas mileage => ethanol gas
By PaFromFL on 12/6/2011 8:42:54 AM , Rating: 2
Based on long trips on I-95 back in 2008, I discovered that E-10 reduced my gas mileage around 10% with my 300C Hemi and around 7% with my 330i. Around town, my Saturn Astras suffered about a 10% loss (with a larger margin of error). This is much worse than the expected the 3.5% energy density loss. Perhaps highly optimized modern engines are very sensitive to fuel quality.




Consumer Reports
By mgilbert on 12/7/2011 1:37:59 AM , Rating: 2
Consumer Reports has tested the 2012 Elantra. They got 20 MPG city and 39 MPG highway in their tests, and you have to work hard to get mileage as bad as CR does. I don't see how they do it. They averaged 29 MPG overall, and 35 MPG on a 150 mile highway loop. Every car I've ever owned has gotten what the EPA said it would. Drive like a maniac, and your mileage will be less.




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