If you drive a newer-model Hyundai or Kia, you may be due some cash.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says both Korean auto companies overstated the gas mileage on window stickers on most of their models from the past three years. The stickers showed higher mpg numbers than the vehicles' actual capabilities.
The errors were found during an audit peformed by the EPA. Hyundai and Kia are now voluntarily adjusting the fuel economy ratings for approximately 900,000 - or 35% of - 2011-2013 model year vehicles sold through October 31, 2012. According to the companies' websites, "With these changes, the 2012 Hyundai/Kia fleet fuel economy level is reduced by an average of 3 percent â?? from 27 to 26 MPG."
Procedural mistakes are being blamed for the errors. Both companies say they never intended to inflate the numbers.
â??I sincerely apologize to all affected Hyundai and Kia customers, and I regret these errors occurred,â?? said Dr. W. C. Yang, chief technology officer of Hyundai/Kia research and development. â??Following up on the EPAâ??s audit results, we have taken immediate action to make the necessary rating changes and process corrections.â??
A comprehensive reimbursement program is being offered to affected current and former vehicle owners to cover the additional fuel costs associated with the fuel economy rating change. Customers will receive a personalized 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, for as long as they own the vehicle. An extra 15 percent is also being added to the reimbursement amount.
The EPA has not said whether the companies will be fined.
(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)