The Green Leaf

Consumer Watchdog challenges Hyundai's 40 MPG claims

February 3rd, 2012

Is your car's mileage really what it was advertised to be?

Consumer Watchdog has called Hyundai out on its "40 Miles Per Gallon" claim about the Elantra in an ad slated to run during the Super Bowl. Hyundai has pulled the 40 MPG claim but says it was not influenced by Consumer Watchdog.

The group has a counter-advertisement posted on YouTube, noting professional testers at Consumers Union were only able to achieve 29 MPG in combined city and highway tests of the 2011 Elantra, 12 percent below the company's claim of 33 MPG.

Consumer Watcdog has urged the Environmental Protection Agency to re-test the 2011 and 2012 Elantra. Hyundai tested its original MPG tests, the basis for its EPA-certified claim of 50 MPG highway, 29 MPG city and 33 MPG in combined driving.

But real-world reports and professional driving tests report much worse mileage.

Scrutiny over MPG claims is growing after the owner of a Honda Civic hybrid in California won a small-claims court challenge Wednesday on the car's false MPG claims.

"Consumers who increasingly buy cars on the basis of high miles per gallon — then can't get close to the posted figure — are justifiably angry," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. "Hyundai's omission of its touted '40 MPG' claim in its Super Bowl ads, after making a very big deal of it in earlier advertising, shows that the company is hearing the hoofbeats of consumer outrage."

Consumer Watchdog sent a letter Wednesday to Hyundai's U.S. CEO. You can read a copy of the correspondence here.

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