Hyundai And Kia To Pay $100M For Misleading MPG, Gas Emission Figures

In vehicle manufacturer news that doesn’t have to do with recalls, Hyundai and Kia will pay a record $100 million penalty to the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board for not being completely truthful about their vehicles’ fuel economy estimates.

According to an announcement from the EPA, the South Korean automakers will pay the hefty civil fine in addition to the previously announced $395 million in reimbursements to consumers.

The EPA charged that the automakers overstated fuel economy figures by an average of six miles per gallon for the Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Velostar and Sante Fe, as well as the Kia Rio and Soul.

The complaint filed jointly by the United States and the California Air Resources Board alleges that Hyundai and Kia sold close to 1.2 million cars and SUVs whose design did not conform to the specifications the companies certified with the agency.

By selling nonconforming cars the companies also perpetrated misstatements about greenhouse gas emissions, a violation of the Clean Air Act. As a result, the EPA vehicles sold will emit approximately 4.75 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in excess of what the automakers certified to the EPA.

In addition to paying the civil penalty, the manufacturers will spend approximately $50 million on measures to prevent future violations and must forefeet 4.75 million greenhouse gas emission credits valued at more than $200 million.

Greenhouse gas emission credits are issued to manufacturers for building vehicles with lower emissions than required by law. The credits can be used to offset emissions from less fuel-efficient vehicle models or sold or traded to other automakers for the same purpose.

The EPA first discovered Hyundai and Kia’s alleged violations during audit testing in 2012. A subsequent investigation revealed that Hyundai’s and Kia’s testing protocol included numerous elements that led to inaccurately higher fuel economy ratings. In processing test data, Hyundai and Kia allegedly chose favorable results rather than average results from a large number of tests.

According to the EPA, in November 2012 Hyundai and Kia responded to the agency’s findings by correcting the fuel economy ratings for many of their 2011, 2012 and 2013 model year vehicles and establishing a reimbursement program to compensate owners for increased fuel costs due to overstated fuel economy.

In an effort to provide more accurate mileage information to consumers, the Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier this year that it wants car companies to do their mpg testing on the road instead of in the lab.

United States Reaches Settlement with Hyundai and Kia in Historic Greenhouse Gas Enforcement Case [EPA]

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