• Nov 16, 2010
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

The U.S. government is investigating the possibility of raising fuel economy standards to 62 miles per gallon by 2025. The Detroit Free Press reports that Hyundai isn't yet endorsing that number, but CEO John Krafcik feels 50 miles per gallon is well within reach. The Korean automaker already features two vehicles capable of 40 miles per gallon in the Sonata Hybrid and the new Elantra, and the next 15 years promises to show further gains in efficiency.

And that's not the only reason Krafcik is optimistic. CAFE fuel economy is actually figured out differently than the formula used by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Freep points out that while the monroney on an Elantra will show 29 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, the compact's CAFE number will be 44 mpg. What a difference a formula makes. The outspoken chief executive says that taking a hard look at the CAFE numbers makes 50 mpg seem "a heck of a lot more doable."

Doable, yes, but 50 mpg still isn't an easy task. Hyundai's two best vehicles are still under that number, and the rest of the company's fleet is far below the magic total. But 15 years is a long time in research and development years, and we're thinking most automakers will have at least a fighting chance to reach the big five-oh by 2025.

Photos copyright ©2010 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      50mpg isn't that far away from 40. Its the stupid scale we're using that makes it look like just as much of a big deal as going from 10mpg to 20.

      If we used the same scale as most other countries (I'll give up on the units), we'd end up with:

      Sonata, now - 2.5 gallons per 100 miles
      Sonata, later - 2 gallons per 100 miles

      10mpg - 10 gallons per 100 miles
      20mpg - 5 gallons per 100 miles

      See the difference? Our current way of describing efficiency exaggerates changes at the highly-efficient end of the spectrum and minimizes changes at the inefficient end of the spectrum. When a rig goes from 7mpg to 8mpg it doesn't seem like a big deal, but going from 14.3 g/100m to 12.5 g/100m seems far more impressive!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The funny thing is the increasing price of gasoline will make new regulation redundant. I'm willing to bet if gasoline prices continue their upward trend buyers will demand more fuel efficient cars and that alone will do more to promote efficiency than government regulations will.

      Only in the last 5 years when gas prices almost doubled have these electric car manufacturers gained any traction at all in the marketplace. Sure, the government grants help, but people who can afford it are finally shelling out the money, and that's something the government really can't control.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you guys would just switch over to the Imperial gallon you'd be even closer!! :-) Only 2 off at 40 US mpg. Then everyone can be happy and we can go on with our lives.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry for the double post. Comment delete button? Error: not found.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah...because a British inch is different than an American inch...duh. Why your gallon is smaller, only you (might) know. And I don't feel like Googling it. I was just offering something that would make people feel better. Think about it. You'd actually put less gas in your car, say 14 gallons instead of 17, plus you get more mile per! It's like...a win-win!!

        Or you could switch to metric like we did way back 30 some odd years ago, and still have not a clue what the f 8l/100 km means. 10 = 28.2 mpg, easy enough (Imperial of course) but after that...I dunno. I need a calculator.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is a great target.

      Side note, that Sonata Hybrid looks incredible in that color.
        • 4 Years Ago
        so tragic it's funny. 50mpg by 2025. yeah right. peak oil will wait for that, sure... :)

        I'm continually amazed how ignorant the people in charge are. I keep assuming they have some understanding because they couldn't possibly be that ignorant but they are. not only is electric propulsion not even on his mind which is unbelievably incompetent for a car maker CEO but it seems he has no notion of peak oil either. he just thinks it will keep on going forever if only they make symbolic improvements in mileage...

        oil price going up to 5x normal in 2008 that was just a fluke. that meant nothing!

        if there was freedom of speech here I would use quite a few less than flattering terms for these Isaac Newtons here.

        I hope Nissan will embrace the advantages of light weight and aerodynamics so they can be fully rewarded for the choice to embrace electrics and clean house
      • 4 Years Ago
      That new front end is hideous. Its as if someone handed a rookie worker a piece of chrome-colored plastic and told them to stick it anywhere on the car and keep the line moving.
      • 4 Years Ago
      50 mpg??? Big deal! Suzuki's Geo Metro did it over 20 years ago!
        • 4 Years Ago
        20 years ago your house needed 50% less energy to run as well!

        So is that new house more inefficient? NO.. it just has more electric things etc.

        Same with cars - more safety, bigger cars, more features etc. No one wants a manual roll down, 14" tire loud as all hell road noise, feeling like the car is going to fall apart.

        I do wish Honda or someone would make a car and strip out all the current safety standards and show the public what WOULD be available if people didn't drive behemoth suv's and require all this safety built into small cars.

        Remove airbags, downsize the ac system, manual windows, doors etc. Remove crumple zones, remove strong bumper beams, remove sound deadening put 14" 165's on it. . A 2700lb compact car is probably going to be about 2200lbs and get instead of 35 combined probably going to get about 47 combined and be fairly quick with the still 130+ hp that they put into the cars nowadays.

        35mpg avg on a small, zippy car is a nice achievement! I like it. I would really like the EPA to factor in Start/stop into their ratings so that more manufacturers put it in their cars.

        Then you'll see city cars go up probably about 14% increase and decrease our foreign oil dependance.

        I have an MR2 spyder as my track/sunday car - regularly gets 35mpg (with the little autocrossing I do) and if i drive highway i can get over 40 consistently at 70mph.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wouldn't drive one of those if you gave it to me for free. It's practically a death trap.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Right... but not while meeting stringent emission and crash testing standards.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai is getting more and more impressive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Jesus that Hyundai Sonota a hideous car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That piece of chrome across the hood should have been removed yesterday.
        • 4 Years Ago
        elimination of freedom of expression through neg-repping. interesting
        • 4 Years Ago
        @myself- oh god - look what I did. I meant to say "@greens - " but I was reading his comment, and I was trying to figure out what neg-repping was supposed to mean, so I typed that instead. D'oh! :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        Damn that thing has a face only a mother could love....or an idiot.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nightflight, does it bother you when "other" people post here at the HyundaiAutoBlog?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai's corporate leadership has the right attitude, instead of making instinctive "no no no" responses to government efforts, and basically pick a policy fight where a fight can be avoided, they're going back to check the math and see whether they'll have a competitive advantage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hyundai's management has the right attitude? Rolling over and taking it? All of Europe would be speaking German with that attitude. The U.S. would be a Japanese colony with that attitude. No, the right attitude is to fight this bureaucracy tooth and nail and let the market decide what they should produce. CAFE equals socialism. BTW, the car is hideous and still a Hyundai.
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