All automakers are under pressure to hit more stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations, figures set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 1978, the CAFE standards were just 18 miles per gallon, but they have increased gradually each year. This summer, the bar was raised high when automobile manufacturers were told to hit 54.5 mpg by 2025. While that is a very steep ladder to climb, Hyundai hit the 2016 CAFE requirements in 2011 – the Korean automaker seems to be jumping the rungs on the way up.

The announcement that Hyundai hit a 36 mpg average four years ahead of the requirement is impressive, but there is never good news without some controversy. A consumer protection group is standing behind its claim that the Hyundai Elantra doesn't meet its U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy in real-world driving. Hyundai acknowledges that consumers may not achieve EPA estimated efficiency, but the Elanta's discrepancy was consistent with the other vehicles in its segment when tested by Consumer Reports (and just about every vehicle on the road, says our experience).

It is interesting to note that, while the EPA has not altered its fuel economy ratings on the 2012 Elantra, the automaker has added its ActiveECO feature to the model that reportedly improves fuel economy up to seven percent.


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  • 55 Comments
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      "But, but, but, but that's unpossible! The new CAFE regulations would KILL cars. Make them all tiny, underpowered econoboxes that were ugly and poorly built and make them all super expensive! There is NO WAY the CAFE standards can be realistically met! No way. No how. ALL regulations are awful and will kill the auto industry. But, but, but." :rolleyes: Oh yeah, and to stem the tide of all you clueless conservative nutjobs that will come in here claiming that the CAFE standards are unfair because companies like Ford have lots of trucks... the exact opposite is true because there are SEPARATE standards for cars are there are for trucks.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        [blocked]
          Dayv
          • 2 Years Ago
          Senators from Michigan? Hey, what's in Michigan? DETROIT. Gee, what a puzzle.
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
        godwhomismike
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        I routinely get between 25 - 27 mpg highway with my 2011 Kia Sportage SX (Turbocharged AWD making 260 hp and 269 lb ft of torque). For such a quick truck, it's impressive fuel economy. You can argue about 0-60 numbers by a tenth of a second, but at the end of the day, low end torque wins. This engine makes 269 lb feet of torque at just 1850 rpm, and climbs the steepest grades like a runaway locomotive. Why is this relevant? Because the rumors are point toward the Hyundai Santa Fe getting this exact powertrain. It's so much better than a thirsty V6. When you don't need a turbo, you're getting 4 cylinder fuel economy on the highway, and when you need it, it shoves you back in you seat like your taking off in a rocket ship.
        SheldonRoss
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        Wait are you trying to claim that there hasn't been a surge in the sale of small - "tiny, underpowered econoboxes" as you put it - cars? That small CUVs haven't largely displaced large body on frame SUVs? Because that's exactly what happened. Unfortunately for your argument, it had more to do with general market pressures -$4 gas - than any government regulation.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        Oh look, it's M...I mean invisibleblog...I mean...ah forget it.
      Oversteer325
      • 2 Years Ago
      My wife gets 34 city in her 2011 Elantra in Charlotte, NC. We've never gotten below 40mpg on a highway trip. If you want to get good mileage you can by changing the way you drive. It doesn't mean you have to drive like a granny either. If you drive in a manner that keeps the Eco light lit up on the Elantra you will get the same results.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Oversteer325
        [blocked]
      Slartibartfast
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cafe at 54mpg in 13 years NOT a steep ladder unless you are unwilling to embrace and invest in materials technology. Anyone have any doubt that Hyundai will be there? By 2025 I expect my phone/computer/theinternet to be the size and format of a contact lens and be powered by blinking, the least the auto industry can do is improve efficiency by 50%.
      BlackDynamiteOn
      • 2 Years Ago
      When you don't sell trucks, making CAFE requirements is pretty easy. Hyundai is not a full-line automaker (trucks) BD
        Mobis21
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BlackDynamiteOn
        You're seriously error challenged. Hyundai does manufacturers cars and trucks but does not sell their trucks in the U.S.
      stizzl05
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not talkin' bad about Hyundai but they only build small cars so this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Oh, I know people are gona say "oh but what about the equus, genessis" etc. Come on, the other OEM's sell trucks that can move your moms house. They also build cars that make more power than a few Hyundais combined. I am sorry, but this is not impressive for a car manufacturer with such a portfolio. It's also why I am not impressed with their 100,000 warranty as compared to other guys putting decent warranties on cars that make 600hp and are made for us automotive junkies who will abuse the crap out of them. I know it's hard to brake something on the car when it makes 100hp...
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stizzl05
        As the other guy mentioned, trucks don't always even count. So it's a moot point. They still have some crossovers/suv's. They have the Gen coupe making 348hp now in V6 guise, V8's making over 380 and 420hp now.
      • 2 Years Ago
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        brian
        • 2 Years Ago
        "My feeling is that ... Hyundai (is) simply building and tuning its cars to get the best EPA numbers possible, even if those do not reflect real world outcome." You mean the same way GM fixed the manual shifter on the C4 Corvette to go from First to 4th to improve mileage? Or how Mercedes transmissions start in Second gear for the same reason? Most, if not all, mainstream automakers engineer their cars to meet certain EPA mileage targets - It's not a conspiracy.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        msspamrefuge
        • 2 Years Ago
        Don't forget about setup and maintenance. I'm no rocket scientist, but in addition to operation habits, the things some drivers do (or fail to do) for their cars contributes to decreased fuel efficiency.
        ten sixtysix
        • 2 Years Ago
        Does anyone know of anyone who can achieve the EPA's mileage claim in a real-world condition? The point is, if the majority of the drivers are not able to reach the EPA's MPG, then that means it's not serving it's purpose of educating the general public on what kind of MPG it can get, so it should be adjusted to a point where it indicates what kind of MPG an average American can achieve in such vehicle. The current EPA's MPG figures are just not working.
          suthrn2nr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ten sixtysix
          Not Hyundai, lol http://www.fuelly.com/car/hyundai/elantra
          Dayv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ten sixtysix
          I beat the EPA rating in my Honda Fit, but I'm frequently driving it with a goal of getting good mileage. Mostly when I'm not late to work.
          desinerd1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ten sixtysix
          few years I got 38mpg in a highway trip in 1995 corolla (EPA 23/31)
      Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hyundai really is on a roll. I sometimes forget about the pieces of crap that it made pre 2006 after looking at their current offerings. It's amazing how far they've come.
      ALafya
      • 2 Years Ago
      Look at Fuelly.com and see the Elantra *is* trailing behind the segment, with an average of 30MPG of real-world driving. 5 MPG less than the new Civic.
        Mike
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ALafya
        Not what you would call a compelling sample size.
          Mike
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mike
          I don't know who 'minus'ed' my comment, but no, 33 2012 civics does not make it so.
      sc0rch3d
      • 2 Years Ago
      maybe they should reinvent the CAFE standards with 2 numbers. 1 for non real world perfect driving and 1 for an absolute lead foot driver.
      Matrix
      • 2 Years Ago
      My sis versa claims 36mpg, but only gets 28mpg, it's all about how u drive and what kind of driving u do.
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