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UPDATED: Hyundai, Kia Fined $100 Million for 2012 Fuel Economy Readjustment

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/3/2014 Megan Stewart
2013 Hyundai Sonata© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 Hyundai Sonata

Back in 2012, Hyundai and Kia were investigated by the EPA over their fuel economy figures. Around 900,000 vehicles were affected thanks to a procedural error during the testing cycle. Many 2011-2013 model-year vehicles' fuel economy numbers were lowered by 1-6 mpg, negating the 40-mpg claims the automakers advertised.

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The EPA investigation into Hyundai, which started back in 2012, will finally be resolved after the automaker pays a $56.8 million civil penalty. Hyundai will also forgo 2.7 million greenhouse gas emission credits and form an independent certification test group to oversee future testing, training, data management, and reporting. Hyundai has since corrected the error in its testing method, which was revised and approved by the EPA in October 2012.

When the news first broke two years ago, we looked back on our reviews of the Hyundai and Kia models affected, noting that we couldn't reach the stickered claims in our tests.

Initially, Hyundai and Kia issued a compensation proposal that would reimburse owners with debit cards to offset the fuel costs. However, in 2013 owners were also given the option to receive a one-time lump sum payment, which would range from $353-$667. The automakers also offered a dealership credit good for 150 percent of the lump sum amount, or a 200-percent credit that would go toward purchasing a new Hyundai or Kia model.

UPDATE: A Previous version of this article contained a typo in the headline that listed the fine as $56.8 billion. The error has been corrected.

Combined, Hyundai and Kia will pay a civil penalty of $100 million, the largest in Clean Air Act history, along with a total of 4.7 million greenhouse gas emission credits, which are worth an estimated $200 million. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a press release that "This settlement upholds the integrity of the nation's fuel economy and greenhouse gas programs and supports all Americans who want to save fuel costs and reduce their environmental impact." The California Air Resources board will also receive $6,343,400 of the $100 million payment as a co-plaintiff.

Source: Hyundai, EPA

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