The Hyundai Kia fine is somewhat surprising, but the automakers have settled a gas mileage penalty by agreeing to pay $100 million, and $250 million in other punitive measures for overstating their EPA facts.
The automaker was originally targeted in a suit by the Justice Department, according to the Associated Press. Hyundai-Kia agreed to settle for distributing false EPA claims on its vehicles. It’s the largest gas mileage penalty in the Clean Air Act history, the Environmental Protection Agency says.
The civil settlement is being called “unprecedented” by the two Korean car makers. It’s a message that is being sent to all automakers. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke more about the law.
“Greenhouse gas emission laws protect the public from the dangers of climate change, and today’s action reinforces EPA’s commitment to see those laws through.”
The Hyundai Kia fine has left both companies quiet about the gas mileage suit, until now. The company said it had reduced the combined city/highway fuel economy of a quarter of its 2011-2013 model year vehicles by 1 to 2 miles per gallon. Hyundai Present and CEO David Zuchowski says the automaker still leads the auto industry in fuel efficiency.
“Hyundai has acted transparently, reimbursed affected customers and fully cooperated with the EPA throughout the course of its investigation … We are pleased to put this behind us, and gratified that even with our adjusted fuel economy ratings, Hyundai continues to lead the automotive industry in fuel efficiency and environmental performance.”
The companies, which are both owned by Hyundai, sell difference versions of the same models, according to USA Today. Hyundai-Kia denied allegations that they violated the law. The company blames the inflated mileage on honest misinterpretation of the EPA’s complex rules governing testing.
Nevertheless, The Hyundai Kia fine comes with stiff penalties. Hyundai has agreed to pay $56.8, and Kia is set to pay $43.2 million. The automakers wanted to end the probe and litigation.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the settlement represented the Justice Department’s commitment to “ensuring fairness in every marketplace, protecting the environment, and relentlessly pursuing companies that make misrepresentations and violate the law.”
Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com said there’s a gray area between the printed MPG numbers and the results from drivers.
“Every automaker will be looking carefully at its current testing procedure to avoid a similar penalty in the future … frustration in the gray area between automakers’ stated MPG numbers and the real-world results experienced by car owners.”
The Hyundai Kia fine involving actual gas mileage have always been up for debate. The company increased their shares of the U.S. new-vehicle market in the past decade, notes CNN Money. The increase particularly occurred during the economic downturn of 2008 to 2010 when consumers craved fuel-efficient vehicles.