As webs meant to catch flies go, the Environmental Protection Agency‘s might soon look tattered and threadbare as its investigation expands to suggest Hyundai and Kia might not be the only brands fudging mpg claims.
Controversy quickly embroiled both brands last week after the revelation that mileage claims on no less than 13 models are exaggerated by as much as six miles per gallon. The information could deal a heavy-handed blow to Hyundai whose 40-mpg mantra is about as important as your carotid artery in a market where gas is only becoming more expensive.
In more than a decade, the EPA says there have only been two other products falsifying claims. But is that because the industry is filled with honest automakers that live up to MPG claims? Are Hyundai and Kia really the pocket pilfering villains some might see after last week, or just one of many tainted teeth wearing veneers?
It seems that’s a question floating in more than a few minds at the EPA as well. Far from being finished, the inquiry is expanding as part of an ongoing investigation. It’s still unclear what, exactly, that means, but more companies are likely to come under the microscope.
Part of the problem is that car companies can tune their vehicles to perform for optimal fuel economy during the preset list of specific tests used to gather EPA ratings. Driving the cars outside of those generally unrealistic parameters can drastically affect mileage without breaking any rules.
Hyundai and Kia went beyond that, but it won’t matter to consumers. Even if further investigations fail to find other violations, the fact remains that fuel numbers regularly fail to meet EPA expectations, probably because the agency is trying to measure a curved object with a rigid yard stick. Things aren’t likely to get better unless that changes.
[Source: the Detroit Bureau]