As Louis Bird filled up his 2011 Hyundai Elantra, it was there at the gas pump that he figured out something wasn't right. Every time he bought gas, he would write down how much he bought and how far he'd gone.
"At about 26,000 miles, I have an overall mileage rating of 29.92," said Bird.
That is not what he had expected. If you look at the sticker that came with his car, it says he can get 29 city miles per gallon and 40 on the highway. The smaller print shows in the city mileage could go as high as 34 and highway as much as 47 mpg.
"My mileage isn't anywhere close. I have tracked every single gallon of gas I have put into this car from when I got it," said Bird.
Louis wasn't the only one complaining, there was a lot of talk about this online.
Working with Bird Consumer Watchdog even filed suit saying the advertising claims were exaggerated and left out important information.
"Consumers were not getting what the sticker promised and what we've learned today from the EPA is that the sticker on the window itself was a false advertisement," Jamie Court from Consumer Watchdog.
In July I contacted Hyundai Motor America and it issued this statement saying it "…stands behind the fuel economy ratings obtained for the Elantra..."
Today Hyundai and Kia issued a joining statement that said in part: "Given the importance of fuel efficiency for all us, we are extremely sorry for these errors. When we say to Hyundai owners, 'We've got your back,' that's an assurance we don't take lightly. We're going to make this right for everyone and we'll be more driven than ever to ensure our vehicles deliver outstanding fuel economy."
Consumer Watchdog says the issue is bigger than Hyundai and Kia.
"Whether or not it was intentional we do not know. They claim it was a procedural error, it is hard to see how that could happen, but the big question here is why do we have EPA tests that are not run by the EPA," said Court.
It is not just the Elantra. More than a third of the 2011 through 2013 models sold through this past October are involved. Hyundai and Kia customers will receive a debit card that will reimburse them for their difference in the EPA combined fuel economy rating, based on the fuel price in their area and their own actual miles driven. The companies are also adding on an additional 15 percent for the trouble associated with this.