Hyundai and Kia Compensate Auto Loan Customers with Prepaid Debit Cards for False MPG Claims

In the past couple of years, Hyundai and Kia have risen in the ranks as a contender against car brands like Toyota and Honda, which have held the economy-brand throne for decades. Not only do consumers enjoy affordable auto financing with most models often priced at under $20,000 MSRP, but vehicles from both Hyundai and Kia, under the Hyundai Motor Group umbrella, boast 40 MPG claims.

That is, until the car manufacturer was found to have overstated its mileage reports — which were the brands’ leading selling point during 2012 when gasoline prices skyrocketed. With Hyundai’s “miscalculations” exposed, Hyundai and Kia car owners are being offered Hyundai’s prepaid debit cards to recover gas mileage compensation reimbursements as a result of the error.

Hyundai and Kia Fail Mileage Claim Tests

In addition its favorable price range, the mileage claim showcased on multiple Hyundai and Kia models pushed new car buyers to spend thousands of dollars on a car, based on false pretenses.

“It’s worth noting that automakers mostly self-certify their cars. Then the EPA spot-checks about 15 percent of them with its own tests in a lab,” shares Consumer Reports. To the misfortune of Hyundai and Kia, they were among the 15 percent chosen for verification.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) audit report revealed that fuel economy levels were inflated by about one to two miles per gallon, according to the agency’s results.

An estimated 900,000 vehicles are included in the mileage claim discrepancy, which is 35 percent of the  2011-13 Hyundai and Kia vehicles sold through October 31, 2012.

Vehicles affected in the mileage claim downgrade include:

2011 Model Year2012 Model Year2013 Model Year
Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai AccentHyundai Accent
Hyundai Sonata HEVHyundai AzeraHyundai Azera
Kia Optima HEVHyundai ElantraHyundai Elantra (incl. coupe and GT versions)
Hyundai GenesisHyundai Genesis
Hyundai Sonata HEVHyundai Santa Fe (2WD and 4WD)
Hyundai Tucson (and 4WD version)Hyundai Tucson (2WD and 4WD)
Hyundai VelosterHyundai Veloster (and Turbo version)
Kia RioKia Rio
Kia SorentoKia Sorento
Kia Soul (and ECO version)Kia Soul (and ECO version)
Kia SportageKia Sportage
Kia Optima HEV
The fuel rating misreporting was a result of errors when performing “coastdown” testing at the manufacturer’s Korea-based testing facility. Coastdown testing incorporates factors such as “aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance and drivetrain frictional losses” —  all of which contribute to calculating fuel economy ratings.

Presently, Hyundai and Kia have voluntarily updated the fuel economy mileage label on all existing vehicles in dealerships across the country. For auto loan borrowers who are currently tied to their vehicles, the companies have instated a gas mileage compensation program to compensate drivers for the rating deduction.

Auto Manufacturer Issues Prepaid Debit Cards

Hyundai and Kia companies both issued prepaid debt cards to previous and current car owners who filed a mileage claim. The reimbursement program reimburses drivers for the error, based on the model’s specific rating discrepancy, how many miles the vehicle had upon purchase compared to the number of miles put on the car since, and the average cost of gasoline in the area.

President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, John Krafcik, issued a press release statement regarding the issue, stating “Given the importance of fuel efficiency to all of us, we’re extremely sorry about 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.”

As an act of good-faith, the companies will also calculate in an additional 15 percent of the reimbursement as a bonus to customers. The same formula is used for individuals who once owned, but have since sold their vehicles.

The more impressive part of the gas mileage compensation program is that it’s an ongoing program for as long as the driver owns the car, not just a one-time reimbursement. Meaning significant savings for borrowers looking for ways to save money on the cost of car ownership.

How to Submit Mileage Claim

The MPG overestimation is an unfortunate reality for individuals trying to avoid the rising gas prices. Even so, the mileage claim offer from Hyundai and Kia are a reasonable solution to the issue. Each website has erected a dedicated website specifically for the program ( and, which outline vehicle qualifications for the program, explain how to register vehicles and provide downloadable forms necessary for car owners to obtain their gas mileage compensation.

Before customers are given their prepaid debit cards, they must first verify their current mileage at an authorized Hyundai or Kia dealership. Once this step is completed, claimants send their preliminary paperwork to Hyundai or Kia for review. Owners are sent repaid debit cards within 120 days upon completion of the review.

From personal experience, the process took far less time to see a turnaround. The entire process to get my first reimbursement spanned about 30 days from the time  initiated my request to actually receiving my debit card.

The funds obtained can be used anywhere that accepts MasterCard, just like a traditional debit card. In my case, I used my $120 refund for smaller purchases at restaurants, and at times, gasoline. Every time I go into my local dealership for service, I have them update Hyundai’s mileage debit card program of my new mileage count for future reimbursements.

While remedy still leave some car buyers dissatisfied with the false mileage claim ratings, the compensation offered by Hyundai and Kia are a genuine effort at appeasing — and retaining — their current customers.

(Image: the KCB)

  • Redbaron

    What irks me about the whole situation is that Hyundai has not provided any “official” notification to me, an owner of a 2011 Eleantra. If a friend who read about it had not told me I would be totally unaware had I not googled the issue. To compound the situation, I had my car in the dealership last week for service and they did not mention a word about it. I have to wonder why Hyundai is basically keeping it a secret from the affected owners of their vehicles?

    • Jennifer Calonia

      I know how you feel. I, too, did not receive a formal mailer immediately, but instead heard about the issue from a friend. I did, however, receive an e-mail from Hyundai about the program -after- I’d already initiated the whole reimbursement process. I’ve just been doing my best to spread the word to other Hyundai/Kia owners.

      • esther

        I too did not receive a formal letter. However when I went to the Kia dealership for an oil change I was informed by my service agent these guys are great. quit complaining and be glad you found out about it.

    • You’re not alone, I was never contacted by Hyundai or my dealer as well. I found out about the MPG issue from a family member who had read about it in a newspaper article. I’m not to happy about how I found out about the program and how hyundai was handling it. Apparently they had been under scrutiny and investigation for monthes before i purchased my vehicle so I’m pissed. I average 25-27mpg in my 28/32/38 city/combined/highway 2013 Hyundai Elantra, I have just under 10,000 miles on my car and I was “compensated” with a $30.03 gas card… so worth the trouble of searching fo that elusive reimbursement website and going to a hyundai dealership so they can look at your odometer.. what a joke.

      • Vicenzo Lugo

        I bought a used 06 Volvo last year. I’ve had it for over a year.Volvos
        are equipped with a trip computer feature I appreciate tremendously.
        It’ll let me know with the gas thats in the gas tank how far I can go
        but better than that is the gas mileage. I’m getting 29 mpg on a 3K #
        car and its over 8 years old with 121 K miles on da clock. I had a 05 Mitsu Ralliart I’d have to stop for gas more often for gas bc once it hit half a tank seem like gas evaporated.

    • hyundai motor america

      it is a campaign by customer request only.. it is only for people that own affected vehicles and complain about fuel mileage. the hyundai dealer is not authorized to contact the customer regarding this matter… this was set by the dot. the d.o.t. set these rules to prevent hyundai from using this scenario for gain… ie. you come in to have your mileage confirmed and they sell you a cabin filter and tires as a result of you being there.

  • Patricia Aucutt

    fHow often do we receive gas cards-I purchased a KIA 2012 Sorento on Sept 17 2012 and have only received 2 cards in one year! Please advise., Thank you!

  • Angry as hell!

    Simply finding out my balance and the transactions that hit the card is impossible. Keep your receipts so you know your balance, going on line is a dead end. All Metabank is offers is a screen on which you enter all the numbers and codes, hit enter, and sit there with no response. This whole thing is a sham.

  • roofervp

    Ok let me say this….First what Kia and Hyundai did was fine and the right thing to do. Now that big But, they made these cards only good as merchandise withdrawal type cards. In other words, if you want to deposit the money in your bank account you can’t. You must draw from these cards till it’s all gone. WHY.? The gas mileage they lied about was not subject to a certain type of lie, was it… ? Are we to believe that just little white lies or not subject to the harsh punishment of a great big whopper.

    This Fiasco would have been so much more palatable if they would have simply done 100% of the right thing. Just return what was do the consumer with out restrictions. When we bought the cars we didn’t say,”Oh! by the way,I’ll be paying the last 2,000 dollars in freshly shucked Brazil nuts.”

    the roofer in the woods

  • Juan Ruiz

    the cards are charged at the higher gas price at the pumps, because you are technically using a credit card.?
    when the reimbursement is generated one would assume, that this factor was considered.
    does anyone have the same thought