'Your mileage may vary.'

We're all used to seeing those words at the end of any advertisement that mentions fuel economy, and we all know what it means: Not all drivers will get the same mileage, and oftentimes what you get will be lower than what it says on the car's window sticker.

That explanation may not hold water with Louis Bird of Sacramento, California, owner of a 2011 Hyundai Elantra.

"I feel like Hyundai took advantage of me. Hyundai's advertisements about the '40 MPG' gas mileage of the Elantra instantly caught my attention. I bought the car thinking I would be seeing major savings at the pump and getting over 500 miles per tank, but Hyundai fooled me... I have not saved any money on gas and have been driving the Elantra for well over a year now. It is frustrating and disappointing. I never would have bought the Elantra in the first place if I hadn't seen Hyundai's ads boasting about gas mileage."

Bird has filed a suit looking for class-action status in Sacramento County Superior Court. The lawsuit "seeks to stop Hyundai from illegally using gas mileage numbers in its advertising of the Elantra without government-mandated disclosures." Naturally, damages are being sought for California owners of 2011 and 2012 Elantra models. As you can see above, the 2013 Elantra is still advertised with a 40-mpg rating on the highway, a figure arrived at by the EPA and, as Hyundai points out in a press release, by independent sources like Popular Mechanics and Car and Driver.

From what we can tell, Consumer Watchdog, the organization is bringing the lawsuit, is alleging that Hyundai failed to "disclose certain information when mileage estimates [were] provided in their advertisements," thereby deceiving consumers into thinking the Elantra would provide better mileage than its competitors.

Scroll down for the press release from Consumer Watchdog and a response we received from the automaker. We've also included some video advertisements for the Elantra. So far, we've been unable to find any ads that don't include the expected industry-standard disclaimers about varying mileage and city versus highway fuel economy. For its part, Hyundai tells us it has "reviewed [its] ads and think Consumer Watchdog and their client are dead wrong."










Show full PR text
Hyundai Sued by Consumer Watchdog for Misleading '40 MPG' Elantra Ads

SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Hyundai's Gas Mileage Claims in 2011 and 2012 Elantra Advertising Campaign Misled California Drivers

Hyundai Motor America misled consumers about the gas mileage of the 2011 and 2012 Elantra through a broad-based media advertising campaign designed to capitalize on public concern over escalating gas prices, according to a lawsuit filed by Consumer Watchdog and Cuneo Gilbert and LaDuca, LLP.

The lawsuit alleges that Hyundai touted "The 40 Mile Per Gallon Elantra" in high-impact television, Internet, and print advertisements without government-required disclosures that those mileage estimates were for highway driving only and that city driving mileage estimates were much lower. The omitted disclosures would have informed consumers that the car does not attain 40 MPG under most driving conditions. The illegal advertisements caused tens of thousands of California drivers to purchase or lease 2011 and 2012 Elantras and consequently incur unexpected fuel costs.

Download the lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/resources/birdcomplaint.pdf

"I feel like Hyundai took advantage of me. Hyundai's advertisements about the '40 MPG' gas mileage of the Elantra instantly caught my attention. I bought the car thinking I would be seeing major savings at the pump and getting over 500 miles per tank, but Hyundai fooled me," said Louis Bird of Sacramento, California, a 2011 Elantra owner who is representing other consumers in the class-action lawsuit and meticulously documents his mileage. "I have not saved any money on gas and have been driving the Elantra for well over a year now. It is frustrating and disappointing. I never would have bought the Elantra in the first place if I hadn't seen Hyundai's ads boasting about gas mileage."

The lawsuit seeks to stop Hyundai from illegally using gas mileage numbers in its advertising of the Elantra without government-mandated disclosures and asks for damages on behalf of California residents who purchased or leased 2011 and 2012 Elantras.

"Hyundai used the '40 MPG' figure in a deceptive manner in order to differentiate the Elantra from similar vehicles, an especially egregious tactic during a time when consumers are looking for relief from continually rising gasoline prices," said Laura Antonini, staff attorney for Consumer Watchdog.

"Car companies are required to disclose certain information when mileage estimates are provided in their advertisements and Hyundai ignored the rules," said William Anderson, attorney for Cuneo Gilbert and LaDuca, LLP. "Without this required information, consumers cannot make accurate comparisons when shopping for vehicles."

Consumer Watchdog is a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Santa Monica, CA. Find us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org

Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP, a firm with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Bethesda, Md. and Alexandria, Va., specializes in the representation of plaintiffs in consumer, antitrust, civil rights and securities class actions and is active in major litigations pending in federal and state courts throughout the United States. For more information, go to: http://cuneolaw.com

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

------------------------------------

STATEMENT BY HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

IN RESPONSE TO CLRA LITIGATION BY

CONSUMER WATCHDOG AND CUNEO GILBERT & LADUCA, LLP

Hyundai Motor America ("Hyundai") believes this case has no merit, as our advertising is accurate and in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. In fact, we've reviewed our ads and think Consumer Watchdog and their client are dead wrong.

Importantly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently confirmed our advertised fuel economy for the Hyundai Elantra of 29 miles-per-gallon (mpg) city, 40 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined. The EPA results, generated from testing conducted on January 25, 2012 at the EPA's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are identical to the testing data Hyundai originally submitted to the agency. We are gratified with the EPA results, and are committed to continuing to reduce the fuel consumption of our vehicles in order to provide greater value and efficiency for our customers.

On the heels of the EPA testing, Popular Mechanics on February 3 released the results of its own testing of the Hyundai Elantra and reported obtaining significantly better fuel economy than advertised. "Cruising along at 55 mpg on the highway, our cars easily cleared 40 mpg and, astonishingly, approached 50." The publication stated that "40 mpg [for the Hyundai Elantra] is quite a realistic figure." Car and Driver and Consumer Reports recently have achieved similar highway results – 41 mpg and 39 mpg respectively.

The EPA deemed Hyundai the most fuel efficient automaker in the U.S. for the model year 2010, the most recent year officially tracked by the agency. Hyundai is currently the only manufacturer with four models achieving 40 mpg EPA ratings on the highway, including the Elantra, the 2012 North American Car of the Year. Last year, Hyundai sold more 40 mpg highway vehicles than Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford and Chevrolet combined. Through May of 2012, our new car fleet averaged more than 37 mpg, about 50 percent higher than the U.S. average.


Background:

In recent years, the EPA has revised its test methods to bring the agency's fuel economy estimates closer to consumers' "real-world" results by including factors such as high speed/rapid acceleration driving, the use of air conditioning, cold temperature operation, road grade, wind, tire pressure, load and the effects of different fuel properties. Beyond its consumer usage, EPA fuel economy data is used by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Internal Revenue Service.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 199 Comments
      ishmaelcrowley
      • 2 Years Ago
      This really touched a nerve. I've never seen so many comments.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ishmaelcrowley
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          merlot066
          • 2 Years Ago
          Keep in mind that 20-30 of the comments are from you telling everybody that there is somebody making posts with 20-30 accounts. You're both annoying!
      travelingman1947
      • 2 Years Ago
      My 2013 Hyundai Elantra isn't getting near the milage promised by the manufacturer either. I feel seriously cheated and would love to give them the car back. They have started a program to give gas cards for affected models but when I put mine in the calculator it was going to give me $18 for my 4500 miles of driving which doesn't begin to cover the difference in the advertised vs actual MPG. I'm hoping someone files a class action suit on behalf of all who have purchased the vehicles.
      rneitzell
      • 2 Years Ago
      I recently purchased a 2013 Elantra GT expecting to get at least close to the 40 MPG highway mileage. Unfortunately it isn't even close to that. During my last highway trip the mileage I got bounced between 28-30 for the three fill ups. I am completely disappointed in this car and have started talking with the dealership in an attempt to return it. Wish me luck!
        Ida
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rneitzell
        Can you please let me know how things go? We purchased a 2013 access and have turned in our mileage back in December we keep calling to find out where are debt card is and nobody has a clue. Were tired of the run around and are realizing maybe we should just return the car for lying about the mileage.
      sally
      • 2 Years Ago
      I too am getting horrible mileage. I had dealership test drive it and they got 21.4 mpg. Hyundai Corporate tells me that the company still will not take any action to resolve this issue. I tell everyone who will listen NOT TO BUY A HYUNDAI for this specific reason. I feel like calling every dealership and tell them to stop the false advertising.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 2 Years Ago
      What do you expect? It's a Hyundai. Hyundais are known for lying about their mileage estimates and their hp estimates. The Kia Sportage is rated at 32 mpg but Motortrend only got 15 mpg. Elantra is rated at 40 mpg but Motortrend only got 30 mpg in driving it. Remember to take any claims from Hyundai with a grain of salt. Absolutely NONE of their specs make it to real life. real life hp = 3/4 * Hyundai hp. real lifw mpg= 2/3 ^ Hyundai mpg.
        Humjaba
        • 2 Years Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        You are so stupid it hurts. Hyundai is reporting the numbers that the EPA came up with - the same group that tests EVERY OTHER CAR.
          bobmarley
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Humjaba
          no they arent. The EPA tests less than 25% of new vehicles, the rest are tested by the car companies who submit their tests to the EPA for approval.
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      So this guy saw a billboard and bought a car based on that - without even looking at the EPA sticker on the window. Can I sue him for being stupid?
      Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's wait till our favorite Honda employee comes on here and tells us all about how Hyundais are so crappy, and talks about "bloated mileage" and "bloated" hp. And after he's commented, he's going to log on to his 20+ logins (Mary Keana, mary.keana, Wrangler Unlimited, Spies1, aaronm_mt, angryinch_1, BTCC, clearwater, Jimmy Joe, Mitchell, just to name a few) and attack and downvote all the pro-Hyundai posts and upvote all the anti-Hyundai comments, just like he's been doing for the last 6 months. Or maybe he's going to try and impersonate different people by creating another login with the person's name, just like he did with NightFlight and Not THAT Matt. Anyway, mileage will always vary. If you have a strong right foot, your mileage is going to suffer.Take it easy on the gas, and your mileage is going to go above the EPA estimates. This is true for ALL cars, regardless of the make or model or company.
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        The Kia Sportage just returned 15.8 mpg in Motortrend's compact crossover comparison. All the cars were driven by the same people and the Kia returned almost 5 MPG less than the next-worse in the test (the Tiguan).
          suthrn2nr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @merlot066
          it matters because they were all tested in the same way and yet once again the hyundai/Kia is the worst in MPG.
          merlot066
          • 2 Years Ago
          @merlot066
          The Ford Escape with a turbocharged engine averaged 21.4 MPG in the same testing. If they're doing hard acceleration tests (on-boost), they the Escape should've done the worst in the group, but it tied the Honda CR-V for second best.
          Justin Campanale
          • 2 Years Ago
          @merlot066
          So why does it matter? It's under hard aceleration. Under normal circumstances, the mileage will be a lot better.
          mary.keana
          • 2 Years Ago
          @merlot066
          LOL, Justing claiming in the comparison, MotorTrend was harder on the Sportage than the CR-V, Escape and others.
        NightFlight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        He'll be here, 30 logins in tow. Looks like you've already taken a hit. People, pay attention to the ratings now and what they will be when the troll shows up.
          NightFlight
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          Oh, and search around from where different screen names copy and paste the exact same thing.
          NightFlight
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          Mitchell Herman ____I____ Butterfly M invisiblog Austin none your are done Jaybird36 Spies1 81 Twitter inch5 Mary Keana mary.keana Wrangler Unlimited mygm4dn5 Check this article where he started copying other peoples screennames: http://www.autoblog.com/2012/02/22/customers-paying-more-for-hyundai-elantra-than-honda-civic-toyo/
      bhayes3732
      • 2 Years Ago
      I too purchased a 2012 Hyundai Elantra as a commuter vehicle based on the false claims of 40 mpg. I have yet to achieve mileage anywhere near 40 mpg. Having tracked my mileage form the first day the best recorded is 34 mpgā€¦ONCE! I drive roughly 60 miles a day with 40 to 45 being at highway speeds. My average mileage is 27.6 mpg. This is far from the advertised 40 mpg. If I had it to do all over again I would never have purchased this vehicle.
        NightFlight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bhayes3732
        How fast do you drive on the highway? How fast do you drive in the city? Does your fuel have an ethanol blend? Does your calculations include your winter mileage with a winter blend of fuel? Do you use heavy throttle in the city? How heavy is your city traffic? Do you let your vehicle warm up in the morning? What is the terrain like in your city/town? There are so many factors that go into MPG, it sounds like you have no idea that it isn't as easy as a number on paper.
        Hazdaz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bhayes3732
        Unless there is something actually wrong with your car, you don't know how to drive. Period. USER ERROR
          Dean Hammond
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          not necessarily.....no two cars are exactly alike, hate to start a conspiracy theory, but whos to say hyundais QC isnt up to snuff.....there are pages of people crying foul of the MPG claims...user error?...Im not so sure, you may also note Hyundai took the odd action of REMOVING MPG claims from their Superbowl ad....hmmm
        El Matador
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bhayes3732
        My wife has a 2011 Elantra, and I can get 36-38 MPG driving from LA to San Diego. This includes hills and an average speed of 80 MPH. Combine driving we always get about 32 MPH in LA traffic. You must be doing something wrong.
        icon149
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bhayes3732
        what is your definition of highway speeds? since states started setting there own speed limits, and those speed limits started climbing significantly over 65 mph, (70 and 75 are more common) the average speed on the highway is higher. especially if you drive 5-10 mph over the speed limited which i believe is pretty common for most "responsible" drivers. Anyone who has studied physics knows that drag is exponential, so for a few miles per hour more speed, you have to provide significantly more power.
          Hazdaz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @icon149
          But it goes even beyond just "how fast", because if you accelerate hard to get even to just 55 MPH, you are going to get way worse mileage than if you gently accelerate to 65 MPH and stay there. Its not just the speedo that people need to look at, but their TACH as well. Also constant speed changes hurt tremendously... losing speed and then having to rev your engine up to regain that speed is horrible for mileage. Most people don't get that. Its a very complicated issue with an enormous number of variables.
        whatamooseiam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bhayes3732
        I don't think you're talking about JUST highway miles when you say it's only gotten 34mpg once. Heck, my larger, more powerful 2007 Sonata that VERY EASILY on hwy mpg alone. True, it drops like a rock when I'm in the city and therein lies the misconception people get when they see just the hwy number. They expect to get that number as an average even though they don't realize just how much time they spend on city driving. My 2007 Sonata is rated at 18-28 and I average 22mpg.
      Tim Tav
      • 2 Years Ago
      He probably weighs 400 pounds and has 200 pounds worth of junk in the trunk. Or, he's a two-footed driver with his left foot always riding the brakes (see that a lot.) Or, cannot keep the right foot steady. I've got a buddy that drives with an overactive right foot and it is annoying. Or, all of the above..
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        A_Guy
        • 2 Years Ago
        Translated: 1# If you buy a car that claims to get good gas mileage and it doesn't; tough sh**. It's normal so it's all good. Deal wit it. 2# If you commute 60 miles round trip to work, GET A BIKE ITS SO MUCH CHEAPER ON GAS, BRO! #3 Hey! You're only out a few hundred bucks. Big deal! I spend more on toilet paper! /sarcasm
      mary.keana
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's like every review you read... I wish I had better news for Hyundai, but its Sonata Hybrid, EPA-estimated to return 35 city/40 highway, mustered a disappointing 27.0 mpg observed, almost 10 mpg less than its hybrid foe from Toyota. What gives? http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1112_2011_hyundai_sonata_hybrid_vs_2012_toyota_camry_hybrid_vs_2012_volkswagen_passat_tdi_comparison/viewall.html observed rated 0-60 car 27.0 35/40 9.5 Sonata Hybrid 36.7 40/38 7.2 Camry Hybrid - almost equals a Sonata turbo in performance 34.2 30/40 8.7 Passat TDi
        NightFlight
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mary.keana
        Really? Like EVERY review you read? I think not: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/fun-at-40-mpg-feature Show me a single Camry Hybrid that runs 0-60 in 6.1 seconds, please. Show me.
          suthrn2nr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NightFlight
          except that its pure bull to only test for HWY numbers, and misleading for a majority of americans. The majority drive about 50/50 so all this focus on HWY numbers and testing is not very useful, especially because its easy to improve HWY numbers, but very difficult to improve CITY numbers. HWY means sh*t to drivers in every large city. These articles by PM, MT, and C&D are just to get more clicks and readers. And its easy to test HWY, but city is much harder because how can you simulate a city test? Much more difficult to simulate someones long term fuel usage during daily commute.
      Justin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wait, he traded in an almost new car for another new one to save money through a few extra mpg?
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