Advertisement

How Seriously Do You Take Gas Mileage Numbers In Car Ads?

 
Follow John

2011 Hyundai Elantra

2011 Hyundai Elantra

Enlarge Photo

When you see that magic 40-miles-per-gallon number in a car ad, does it make you pay attention?

Most likely it does. (Among other things, it's usually in much larger type than the other two EPA ratings.)

But how seriously should you take any publicized gas-mileage ratings?

Most people seem to know that, as the old saying goes, Your Mileage May Vary.

Now a group called Consumer Watchdog has filed a lawsuit--on behalf of plaintiff Louis Bird of Sacramento, California--complaining that Hyundai used only the 40-mpg highway mileage rating in its television ads for the current Elantra compact sedan.

Bird is seeking to have the suit declared a class action, on behalf of all Elantra buyers who did not achieve 40 mpg.

He says that he bought his 2011 Hyundai Elantra based on the TV ads showing 40 mpg, that his car is not delivering that fuel efficiency, and that he is consequently paying more for gasoline than he expected to based on the ad.

Bird asks for unspecified damages to be levied against Hyundai for alleged violations of consumer protection and fraud laws in the state of California.

Hyundai responded with a statement in which it says tests by not only the government agency but major auto publications “suggest the advertised fuel economy is realistic.”

Consumer Watchdog has some previous history with Hyundai, having publicly called on the EPA last December to retest the 2011 Elantra's fuel efficiency by conducting tests in its own facility, rather than accepting Hyundai's test results.

At the time, the consumer group claimed that the Elantra achieves only gas mileage in the mid-20s under real-world conditions, according to its research director Judy Dugan.

She cited "a trail of disappointed drivers," pointing to Elantra owner postings in online forums, as well as published results from road tests by USA Today and Motor Trend, and a 20-mpg city-driving result by Consumers Union.

2011 Hyundai Elantra

2011 Hyundai Elantra

Enlarge Photo

In response, the carmaker's national manager of product PR, Jim Trainor, said Hyundai stood by the EPA numbers. He countered with the figure achieved for highway mileage by Consumer Union in the same test of a 2011 Elantra: 39 mpg.

Based on coverage by various outlets, commenter sentiment is running against Bird. But as these kinds of things go, the case may nonetheless wind its way through the courts for a while.

Once again: The mileage of any car, even high-MPG hybrids, will vary significantly with speed, driving style, temperature, accessory use, and many other factors.

And many people don't know that tips for getting higher gas mileage are widely available--or, worse, they aren't aware that some commonly-believed gas mileage tips are myths.

But we're curious: Do you think Bird has a case? How seriously do you take advertised gas-mileage ratings for new cars?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

+++++++++++

Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.



Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (12)
  1. Mpg statements should be taken with a sack of salt and Mr. Bird is tyring to prove he's stupid by declaring that
    he believed them. It would be refreshing if he succeeds
    in getting the auto makers to declare real world averages. Follow up by cutting oil subsidies and the general public will start to understand the true cost of running combustion engines.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

  2. I have had good luck matching the EPA numbers on both my Prius and my Corolla. I am not sure what is happening to these people with different experiences.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. In my rental and owner experience, the Hyundais are usually NOT getting their EPA rated mileages. So far, the only manufacturers that are producing the EPA rated mileage in my experience are Corolla, Accord, Volt, Rainier, Civic (non-hybrid), Pilot, Malibu, Focus, Edge, Saturn SL2, Trailblazer, Mazda 3... The ones that aren't meeting it are Camry SE, Prius II, Impala, Fusion, Regal GS, Nitro (no longer available), Altima, Neon, G35, Outback, Civic Hybrid, every Kia/Hyundai models that I have ever rented...
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  4. the 2012 Impreza has an EPA rating of 36
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. I usually take the adverstised MPG and reduce it by 10%. That should be close to what you get in real world...
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. Another problem is the HWY miles are "low speed" hwy mileage. Most people drive faster than the rated hwy miileages. City mileage is similar in a way where stop and go traffic with A/C on is far worse than city mileage.

    Long ago, I had a Saturn SL2. If I drive no faster than 60mph, I can easily get 39-40mpg on the hwy. But if I drive 70 to 75mph, I will be getting around 34mpg (EPA rating). If I drive around 110mph (where I got a very expensive speeding ticket), I averaged only 28mpg (I could almost see the gas gauge move during that 2 hours of driving).

    Similarly in my Volt, I normally drive 70-75mph, I easily get between 38-40 mi per charge (with A/C on). If I slow down to 60-65mph, I get 45 mi in range. 55mph, almost 50 mi range.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. It sounds ridiculous but a lot of people refuse to believe that speed doesn't affect fuel efficiency or they make up false claims that speeding saves them a lot of time. Driving like everyone else on the freeway at 70-75mph I get EPA or just higher than EPA (combined) in my old '05 Prius and my new '12 Prius. Slow it down to 60mph and drive efficiently and 60mpg is the norm. Throw in a few hypermiling techniques like simple gliding and I'm rocking 65-68mpg tanks. It's all in how you drive it and unfortunately most people don't know how to drive efficiently, or courteously I might add.
     
    Post Reply
    +2
    Bad stuff?

  8. Short journeys.... 3 or four miles and stop, repeat. That's an mpg killer and the usual driving pattern of my wife. I have little sympathy for suing a manufacturer, especially when you can see real numbers on fue.ly .

    And while it's slightly different, Renault are just as stupid to claim 160km range for my Fluence Z.E. 120 to 130 is comfortable on the flat, only unusual driving SI
    L net 160km on a charge. Which is also why Better Place are smart enough to give free efficient driving lessons! Even though I usually don't give a damn about efficiency as I'm not pushing the range.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  9. And meant to add.... I bought 4 Hyundais on Thursday :-) two Sanat Fe diesels and two i30CW's .
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  10. Where is the outrage in this article? Clearly Hyundai is way too optimistic about MPG, costing it's client serious money but the message seems to be here that buyers could have known that their mileage will vary and shouldn't take numbers in advertising too seriously anyway. Maybe fair but compare the headline of this article with this one:

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1076417_electric-car-prices-tesla-nissan-chevy-should-be-ashamed--heres-why

    It would appear that quoting MPG numbers that almost nobody will be able to get is quite acceptable but quoting prices after incentive that almost everybody will get is not. Could it be that once the car has a plug and especially when Tesla is involved different norms are applied here on GCR?
     
    Post Reply
    -1
    Bad stuff?

  11. Well the EPA numbers were wrong! 38MPG highway for the Elantra, not 40MPG. Other Kia/Hyundai vehicles too.
    I believe the Ford C-max hybrid and Fusion hybrid are next to get revised MPG numbers.
    Let's hope the 2014 Accord plug-in hybrid isn't the same story, since the EPA numbers are very similar to the Ford C-max/Fusion hybrid and has a very similar drivetrain as well.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

  12. IMHO, the highway number isn't worth reading, the combined number, then city number are enough. The EPA numbers are good only as a comparison tool between vehicles, not as a firm number.

    Way too many people have their car sitting in the drive through line at their favorite fast food emporium, their bank, pharmacy, etc.... Some even leave people sitting in running cars while they go shopping {so the climate control can stay on while they sit in the car and smoke}. Those folks shouldn't get good mileage. We should get rid of drive through's so you'd at least have to expend some energy somewhere. Unfortunately, that would hurt the truly disabled, but help the rest of our obese population at least a tiny bit.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement

Find Green Cars

Go!
Advertisement

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC.