By on November 9, 2012

After Hyundai was caught by the EPA with the wrong fuel economy ratings on “select vehicles” (read: most of them) media outlets (including this one) prognosticated that Hyundai would have to abdicate as king of the fuel sippers. Nothing doing, says TrueCar.

According to TrueCar’s sales-weighted rankings, Hyundai continues to put the most automobiles with the lowest fuel consumption on America’s roads – even after Hyundai and Kia had to restate their EPA window stickers, and had to give money back to customers.

Average MPG
Manufacturer 12-Oct 11-Oct YoY
Hyundai/Kia 27.1 26.8 0.3
Volkswagen 26.7 26.1 0.6
Honda 25.4 23.9 1.5
Toyota 24.6 23.7 0.9
Nissan 24.5 23.2 1.3
Industry 23.2 22.2 1.0
Ford 22.1 21.3 0.8
GM 21.0 20.4 0.6
Chrysler 20.0 19.4 0.6

On the total average, demand for low consumption vehicles lifted the average across all new cars by a full mile per gallon. Hyundai/Kia lead before Volkswagen and Honda. Interesting: All Detroit 3 are sitting not so pretty below industry average, but could lift their ratings.

Average Car MPG
Manufacturer 12-Oct 11-Oct  YoY
Toyota 30.3 28.6 1.7
Honda 28.9 27.8 1.1
Hyundai/Kia 28.9 28.3 0.6
Nissan 28.5 26.4 2.1
Ford 28.3 26.2 2.1
Volkswagen 27.9 27.4 0.5
Industry 27.6 25.9 1.7
GM 25.9 24.6 1.3
Chrysler 24.0 22.9 1.1

In just cars, Toyota leads, the Koreans are in number 3 position, Ford edges past Volkswagen. GM and Chrysler remain below average.

Average Truck MPG
Manufacturer 12-Oct 11-Oct YoY
Hyundai/Kia 23.5 23.6 -0.1
Honda 22.4 21.0 1.4
Volkswagen 22.2 21.5 0.7
Nissan 19.8 19.6 0.2
Ford 19.6 19.4 0.2
Industry 19.6 19.3 0.3
Toyota 19.2 19.3 -0.1
GM 18.7 18.7 0.0
Chrysler 18.2 18.0 0.2

In the truck discipline, Hyundai/Kia lead, Ford remains above industry average, Toyota is sent into the below-average penalty box, which it shares with GM and Chrysler.

Average Small Car MPG Average Midsize Car MPG Average Large Truck MPG
Manufacturer 12-Oct 11-Oct YoY 12-Oct 11-Oct YoY 12-Oct 11-Oct YoY
Chrysler 31.2 25.1 6.1 23.9 24 -0.1 15.8 15.6 0.2
Ford 33.3 32.2 1.1 28 26.6 1.4 17.3 17.5 -0.2
GM 30.7 31.2 -0.5 26.2 25.3 0.9 17.1 17 0.1
Honda 31.8 32.4 -0.6 27.7 25.9 1.8 17.2 16.9 0.3
Hyundai/Kia 30.6 31.4 -0.8 28 26.6 1.4  N/A  N/A  N/A
Mazda 30.9 26.3 4.6 24.4 25.1 -0.7  N/A  N/A  N/A
Mitsubishi 25.4 25.8 -0.4 24.3 24.3 0  N/A  N/A  N/A
Nissan 32.2 30.6 1.6 28.4 25.2 3.2 14.3 14.3 0
Subaru 27.4 21.1 6.3 25.4 22.7 2.7  N/A  N/A  N/A
Suzuki  N/A  N/A N/A 25 25.2 -0.2  N/A  N/A  N/A
Toyota 34.8 34.1 0.7 28.4 26.1 2.3 15.5 15.7 -0.2
Volkswagen 31.3 30.7 0.6 29.3 27.9 1.4  N/A  N/A  N/A
Industry 32 31.2 0.8 27.4 25.4 2 16.8 16.3 0.5

For the “yes, but, I’d like this to be broken down according to …” crowd, here are more breakdowns. For specialized requirements, sundry consulting companies will happily oblige after receipt of the customary obscene fee.

TrueMPGTM computes monthly average fuel economy by brand, manufacturer, origin and vehicle segments by using actual sales data or forecasted sales data for the current month. Calculations start at the trim level, taking into account EPA fuel economy data including engine size and drivetrain that affect a vehicle’s MPG ratings; the sales share from each trim level is then calculated to create an average for each model.  Brand level data is calculated by the sales share of each model and the manufacturer data is then based on the share of each brand, providing an accurate and completely data driven picture of actual measured MPGs in the market place. TrueCar utilizes the EPA’s average fuel economy rating using 45 percent highway and 55 percent city driving behavior.

And before I forget it: America’s most fuel-efficient cars still aren’t American. At least not by name.

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19 Comments on “Shenanigans Notwithstanding, Hyundai Still Gets The Best Mileage...”


  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Shenanigans or not, we still really enjoy our 2012 Soul! (Exclaim, not exclamation point). The ~$350/year payment we’ll be getting as a result of the recent MPG adjustment is just icing on the cake. We’d have bought the Soul for all of its other bonuses even at the reduced ratings.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    Just for the Avg Car MPG table, the results are extremely tight! Toyota no doubt pulls ahead by substantial margin because of the success of their hybrids, and I suppose VW almost breaks into the 28mpg club due to its diesels.

    It’s great to see that the ultimate winner is the consumer. If fuel economy is a critical factor, there is certainly a lot of choice.

    Of course, all these points are moot if some other (or a few other) companies are found to be padding their numbers.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    So what? They sell a fleet of small cars that collectively get good gas mileage. The problem is that they lied about how good. People want to know (among other things) “does this one car I am looking at, get the best mileage?” Kia/Hyundai can’t be trusted to give them that answer.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Reporting ‘sales weighted’ figures as an indicator of a car-maker’s offerings is junk journalism expected of the Nat’l Enquirer.

      • 0 avatar
        Off a Cliff

        Why? That’s how CAFE is calculated, though with the vehicles CAFE mpg, not the EPA, which is even higher. You can argue day-in and day-out about full line and the such, but with the average car table, you still get a very good collective reading of what people are buying, and how efficient it is.

      • 0 avatar
        BrianL

        You answered the question with your response Off a Cliff. CAFE uses different MPG standards as well and is used in a different manner to make sure that people are in compliance.

        This info really doesn’t tell you much. Having good numbers here can mean that you just sell a bunch of small vehicles, not that those are particularly more efficient than other companies.

        Anyone who sells a great deal of large vehicles, especially large trucks, will NEVER have a chance at the top spot unless they unveil the 100 mpg carburetor. Heck, they don’t have a shot at the top truck spot because several manufactures don’t attempt to sell them.

        Put it this way, for average small car, Hyundai/Kia is near the bottom, but those are some of the most fuel efficient cost effective cars on the road. What does that tell you?

      • 0 avatar

        Nat’l Enquirer was the media outlet that revealed the John Edwards Love Child affair. Back then a few outlets tried to hush-hush the issue, and Enquirer was the only true journalism outlet in the nation.

      • 0 avatar
        BrianL

        Pete Zaitcev,
        Considering the rest of the Enquirer’s reports, I don’t hold them with high esteem. Even a blind squirrel gets a nut every once in awhile.

    • 0 avatar
      ZCD2.7T

      The fact that they’re reimbursing owners for the difference plus a 15% bonus tells you that they want to put this behind them.

      In the end, I’m betting that this will only present a small speedbump on their path to greater success – the product warrants the success, IMO.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    How does Hyundai/Kia lead in the truck discipline when they don’t make any? Or maybe I need more coffee?

  • avatar
    j10dave

    So based on the last chart comparing apples to apples the headline could have read: DETROIT 3 SMALL CARS GET BETTER MILEAGE THAN HYUNDAI.

  • avatar
    jfbramfeld

    Who buys an average vehicle. With my budget, two vehicles is it. Not much to work with for an average.

    I’ve got an idea: how about a list of vehicles sorted by usable interior volume divided by miles per gallon. Plus some reward for acceleration.

  • avatar
    James2

    The Ridgeline qualifies as a “large” truck?

  • avatar
    BrianL

    Funny, the Hyundai/Kia number for average small car MPG is one of the worst on here. One would think that is where they would be leading, but they are after the Detroit 3 here.

    But, this is still one of the worst data sets I have seen. It doesn’t compare actual models, but compiling all the vehicles that the manufactures sell, and how well they sell.

    Basically, are are doing poor in this if you make big vehicles that sell well and add to your bottom line.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    The variances on the “Average MPG” are huge, such as ” corporate average mpg across all corporate vehicles measured at what speeds on which circuits under what conditions?”

    I bet if you take any vehicle from any manufacturer and drive it on the open highway for 66 minutes at 85+mph before slowing down for city traffic every day, you’d blow that “Average MPG” all to hell.

    These mpg figures are nebulous as all hell and YMMV is the caveat here, shenanigans notwithstanding. I have never been able to match or beat the stated mpg figures on any of my vehicles, probably because my driving routine does not match any of the test criteria.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    “shenanigans-notwithstanding-hyundai-still-gets-the-best-mileage?” —this is sales weighted data. –so “shenanigans” is part of the reason that people chose to buy such a large porportion of Hyundi’s small cars! If other companies lied as effectively, then they would have been able to sell more small cars, and their MPG numbers have improved.


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