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Hyundai Goes Public with Fuel Economy

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author photo by Autotrader February 2011

As federal government regulations dictating increased fuel economy clamp down on automakers, Hyundai has a message for the world: we’re ready. The rapidly growing South Korean automaker announced Thursday it will begin revealing its overall average fuel economy publicly with each monthly sales report as it strives to become the most fuel-efficient car company in the United States.

Hyundai began revealing its fuel economy stats for January, where it achieved an average of 34.7 miles per gallon, according to U.S. government Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The automaker also included several prior months for comparison purposes, including December 2010 – 34.4 miles per gallon – and last January, where it posted an average of just 31.7 miles per gallon.

“We look at this information internally, so we thought, ‘Why not share it externally?’” Hyundai Chief Executive John Krafick told Automotive News in an interview. “It might be helpful to policy makers and the general public because there’s a lot of discussion about big CAFE targets.”

For the moment, Hyundai’s fuel economy numbers far exceed CAFE standards, which call for a corporate average of just 27.2mpg by 2011 and 35mpg by 2020. But rumors about increasing CAFE standards to targets above 50mpg by 2025 persist as government continues to crack down on gas-guzzling cars.

Hyundai’s own goal sees the automaker hitting 35mpg by 2015, a number that will be reached easily given the brand’s current averages. Nonetheless, Krafcik told Automotive News that fuel economy remains one of Hyundai’s “top three business imperatives,” noting that the monthly disclosure of fuel economy numbers is “a way to keep ourselves honest.”

Despite Hyundai’s decision to release average fuel economy numbers monthly, other automakers are reluctant to follow, noting that numbers can fluctuate. To add perspective, GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel pointed out to Automotive News, “the thing that’s really important to the customer is what the fuel economy is on the sticker of the vehicle they are shopping for.”

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Hyundai Goes Public with Fuel Economy - Autotrader