USA TODAY technology reporter Jefferson Graham has a beef with the gas mileage on his Hyundai Elantra. His video of the car's shortcomings (and shortgoings) received a huge response last year, well before the automaker and sister maker Kia revised gas mileage estimates on key models under pressure from federal regulators, and announced a program to compensate owners for the difference. Let's just say Jefferson isn't thrilled. His report:
Hyundai's U.S. president, John Krafcik, recently said that 90% of his customers were "satisfied" with how the company handled it's recent MPG snafu.
Really? Hyundai never got around to asking me. Because I'm not satisfied at all. In fact, I'm even more infuriated.
To recap: I bought an Elantra a year and a half ago, seduced by the ads that said, "40 MPG. According to the EPA." I wrote an article and shot a video here about my disappointment and have heard from many Elantra owners since, with similar poor mileage results to mine. I average 18 miles per gallon in town, and 24 mpg on local freeways and 32 mpg on long road trips. That's a far cry from the average 29 mpg combined city and highway driving promised by Hyundai.
Well, it turns out the EPA didn't actually make the mileage claims. Hyundai did. Their ads were not just misleading, they were false.
The Consumer Watchdog advocacy group picked up on consumer complaints like mine, and wrote to the EPA and White House demanding action.
Cut to November, 2011, when Hyundai apologized. It blamed "procedural errors" for mis-stating gas-mileage claims and then had the audacity to say it was only 1 mpg off.
Not on the street where I live. And not according to the readers who write or call me on a daily basis complaining about their Elantra either:
Matt McLin said his 2012 Elantra averaged 24.7 mpg. "We would not have purchased the vehicle had we known it would get less than 25 mpg."
Jayne Boulos fared worse, with 22 mpg. The dealer wasn't any help. It "had the nerve to tell me" the poor MPG was because she had the heat on.
Pamela Bartlett had similar results to mine, with 19 mpg. "I wish I could turn this car back into Hyundai."
Hyundai's remedy: small rebates for our troubles. I figure I'm owed at least $750, or $10 a week for the additional gas expense between what Hyundai claimed and what I actually got. However, my rebate came out to just $80.
To get my $80 debit card, I had to jump through hoops. I had to go online, fill out a form, then drive to the dealer, wait for their attention, sign another form, and then wait a few weeks for the debit card with $80 to arrive.
$80 is a pittance. The company should have to pay millions of dollars in fines. That would satisfy me.
To boldly misstate gas-mileage standings and to attribute it to the EPA is such a bold-face lie. I would also find it extremely satisfactory, and just, to have Hyundai relieve us Elantra owners of our woes by buying back our vehicles. After all, we can't sell them.
What do you think, Elantra owners? Are you satisfied? Let's discuss it here.