• Dec 1st 2009 at 3:59PM
  • 62

Quick – name the most fuel efficient automobile brand in America. Did you say Toyota? Honda? Surely, you're not alone, but incorrect all the same. In fact, the answer is none other than Hyundai, which publicly set out to nab the title just one year ago. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Hyundai cars averaged 30.1 miles per gallon for the 2009 model year.

Rounding out the top five are Honda (29.7 mpg), Volkswagen (29.6), Toyota (29.4) and Kia (28.0). Naturally, we can expect all of these figures to continue rising in the coming years as every automaker strives to meet the upcoming 35.5 mpg U.S. standard for the 2016 model year.

Hyundai promises to meet that requirement with such technologies as direct injection, turbocharging, hybrid powertrains and lithium polymer batteries. The Korean automaker's first hybrid vehicle will be the 2011 Sonata sedan, which will hit the market early next year. Click past the break for the press release.

[Source: Hyundai]


Hyundai Takes the Lead as the Most Fuel-Efficient Automaker in America

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- One year after promising to become the leading manufacturer in fuel economy, Hyundai delivered by topping the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy report. Hyundai passed all major manufacturers in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) including traditional leaders like Honda and Toyota. The report demonstrates the effectiveness of Hyundai's value-driven fuel-efficiency strategy, which focuses on the intelligent application of cost-effective technologies. The report also substantiates Hyundai's leadership in the race to achieve the government-mandated 2016 CAFE standard of 35.5 miles per gallon.

The EPA 2009 Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends Report indicates that Hyundai has the highest MY 2009 laboratory 55/45 fuel economy with 30.1 miles per gallon (mpg). Hyundai is also the only automaker(1) to top 30 mpg in the report.

   Environmental Protection Agency Fuel Economy Reports (2)
Group Fuel Economy (mpg)
----- ------------------
MY 2009 EPA Lab 55/45* (projected)
Manufacturer** Overall (Cars/Trucks)
-------------- ---------------------
Hyundai 30.1
------- ----
Honda 29.7
----- ----
Volkswagen 29.6
---------- ----
Toyota 29.4
------ ----
Kia 28.0
--- ----
Nissan 27.2
------ ----
BMW 26.9
--- ----
Ford 25.7
---- ----
General Motors 24.5
-------------- ----
Chrysler 23.2
-------- ----

* from EPA Table 28 (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/mpg/fetrends/fullreport-tables-nov2009.xls) - MY 2009 EPA Laboratory 55/45 Fuel Economy by Manufacturer (55% city 45% highway weighted metric)

**Include ten highest-volume manufacturers

"Our thoughtful application of cost-effective, fuel-efficient technologies has helped us achieve our goal of leading the industry in fuel economy ahead of schedule," said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. "Now we hope to extend that leadership with the launch of our new direct injection, turbocharging and lithium-polymer hybrid technologies, all of which will be a part of the 2011 Sonata lineup launching early next year."

Hyundai is aligning global R&D resources at its engineering centers in California, Michigan, Korea, India and Germany to develop the Blue Drive technologies needed to achieve fuel efficiency goals. Under the Hyundai Blue Drive strategy, technologies such as direct injection, turbo-charging, hybrid drive systems and a number of others will all play larger roles in powering future models to offer consumers lower emissions, enhanced performance and more miles per gallon.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 790 dealerships nationwide

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      It is, err..... was inevitable...

      *drives Hyundai*
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ugh. The Elantra's mug is so ugly.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like Hyundai a lot. I like my Lambda V6 NF Sonata a lot. It still plants me in the seat rather nicely and it was still the right choice for me at the time and still today. I don't regret a moment of it.


      This car is a gas guzzler and I feel it every time I fill up. I'm lucky to get 20mpg out of it and constantly wonder why I didn't just get an F-150 that would get about the same mpg. I pay off my gas credit card in full every month and it's very clear I am spending a lot of money on fuel.

      Hyundai is a lot of things. This Sonata is a lot of things. But it's heavier than it needs to be and it's not very fuel efficient.

      • 5 Years Ago
      they may have good fuel efficiency but honestly are they any good?

      • 5 Years Ago
      I laugh at thiose small cars.I have a Chevy Impala that gets 21 to 23 in city driving and I hit 38 at 65, hwy twice yet I can carry 6 people and tow a boat and its got ON STAR that has all ready6 saved a persons life .Gm is the only co that has anything like it
      • 5 Years Ago
      If they are not entirely into the competition why compare??

      • 5 Years Ago
      Congrats Hyundai, and keep it up!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think domestic car makers are affected by their truck sales, and Toyota would've been higher i not for their big truck aspirations.

      P.S. Hyundai will be idiots if they don't exploit this.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Can someone help me out? I thought a few weeks ago it was reported that Honda was the most efficient automaker with Hyundai in the #2 spot. Was that for the 2008 model year or did it measure something else?
        • 5 Years Ago
        These figures are strictly based on the lab tests for EPA ratings purposes, based on sales projections from the makes. The ones issued earlier this month are adjusted for "real world" results and credits for alt fuel vehicles according to the Detroit News report. I'd imagine this would be the only one an automaker could tout because it's the preliminary official one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, the EPA report combines Hyundai-Kia together getting a 23.4 mpg total, good for #2 behind Honda at 23.6 on their overall summary... page 11. However, Hyundai is only showing the individual results....unadjusted at that, to reach 30.1mpg and claim #1.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Actually, it does make sense. Hyundai has a minivan, but no trucks or SUVs. That certainly helps their average MPG.

      I wish more automakers would also start focusing on reducing weight as a fuel-saving measure. I know Mazda has already pledged to do as such, but it'd be nice if the other automakers thought of it. So far, it seems like all anyone wants to think about is adding more weight like hybrid systems to save fuel. But then again, that's easier - reducing weight significantly while keeping all the safety tech consumers expect these days is difficult.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ahh, you all are correct - my mistake. Not sure how I forgot about those SUVs!

        And you all are correct; the additional "safety" requirements being put on is adding a lot of weight, yet they're expected to achieve higher and higher average MPGs for their fleets.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Weight wouldn't be such an issue if car makers were left to their own devices. The problem is that between the government and every idiot who sues a car maker because they rear ended someone while talking on a cell phone, car must now be expected to withstand a 120 mph head on collision, a side impact from a fully-loaded freight train, and a meteor strike. Oh, and the fact that everyone complains about a perceived lack of space in smaller cars.

        Anyways, I've driven a Santa Fe and I've never experienced a V6 with less giddyup. Thankfully they do get good fuel economy because when I planted my foot on the accelerator I experienced a whole lot of wheezing noise and not much else.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Weight reduction is the "new" holy grail for auto companies (Colin Chapman and Lotus the early exception), the big problem is with government regulation. The new roll over standards are being promoted to avoid deaths in roll over accidents, but the reality is that most of those deaths are a result of the failure to use seat belts, not the roof crushing in on the passenger compartment. Until we get over the idea that cars have to be idiot proof (perhaps a partial embrace of the idea of letting dummies eliminate themselves from the gene pool?), weight reduction will increase the cost of cars more than any technology to date.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe not standard body-on-frame SUV, but Hyundai does sell two crossover SUVs: Santa Fe and Veracruz. the latter is 17/23 for 2WD and 16/22 for 4WD per EPA.
      • 5 Years Ago
      May the best car win..oh wait.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Does Mini just fall under BMW? Or why don't they get their own???

      Mini would be the most fuel efficient I would think..

      Or even SMART.

      I mean, if you can't include a 1/2 car car company ...then why include one that doesn't have a pickup truck?

      Maybe that's why Chrysler is creating their own brand with RAM. Keep them separate to not hit their CAFE standards???

      Toyota could also do the opposite with the Prius brand. Create 2-3 types of Prius.. 2 door hatch, 5 door hatch etc and then easily reclaim the title.

      Scion should also be wellll up there!

      Like others said..this stuff is BS publicity.. but since majority of the American public is ignorant.. they try to take advantage of it.. then they hate it when we go to multiple dealers/internet and get cheaper pricing on their cars..
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