Own a Hyundai or Kia? You may get gas

Don’t get excited quite yet, but if there is a 2010 – 2013 Kia or Hundai vehicle in your garage or that of a friend or relative they could be in line for some moolah in the form of a gas card that keeps on giving for the length of their ownership of the car, crossover or SUV.

Because of errors in testing procedures that resulted in incorrect mileage stickers on some vehicles (about 900,000 units), mpg numbers shown on the sticker could be off by about 3% (27mpg to 26mpg, for example.  Also, the vehicle manufacturers will need to retract claims of 40mpg highway for some of its vehicles that, by the revised measures, will not meet those numbers.  The differences are 1 to 6 mpg.  The EPA did not announce any sanctions or fines.

This is not the first time that the EPA has called for a sticker change.  There have been two other cases since 2000, but they were for single models and did not have the impact that this will cause for the popular makers who share a parent company. 

For owners of the affected vehicles (go to hyundai.com or kia.com for the list), compensation will be offered in the form of refillable gas cards which will be credited each month for the value of the difference between the stated and actual gas usage numbers. 

In addition, dealers will check vehicle odometers to verify how much more a vehicle owner spent on gas than they would have had mileage numbers been accurate.  A 15% inconvenience bonus will be added to that number.   The company, as quoted in the New York Times, estimates about $88 in refund this year for a vehicle that has been driven 15,000 if the discrepancy is one mile per gallon.

It remains to be seen if this will hurt the reputations or sales of Hyundai or Kia.  Both have gained excellent reputations for building very fuel efficient products with lots of bells and whistles at extremely competitive prices.  Since reaching 40mpg numbers, they have been the fuel economy leaders to beat, but many others are in striking distance, or even ahead, of that goal.  Overall though, the competition is good for the consumer looking for the right balance between fuel efficiency and other features.