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Hyundai’s 50 mpg goal good for frugal drivers

By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Posted: 3 pm ET

Yesterday the head of Hyundai's American operations John Krafcik announced Hyundai has an ambitious new goal: raising the gas mileage of the entire Hyundai fleet of cars to 50 mpg by 2025. That goal is far beyond the new, stricter gas mileage standards mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last year, which would require automakers' fleets to hit 35.5 mpg by 2016.

From the Financial Times:

Announcing the new fuel-economy target at a Centre for Automotive Research conference, John Krafcik, head of Hyundai's US arm, acknowledged that "we don’t know specifically how to get there, but we do have a road map."

Internal-combustion engines would make up about 75-80 per cent of the improvement, Mr Krafcik said, with hybrids and plug-in hybrids accounting for 15-20 per cent and electric vehicles the remaining 5 per cent.

He said that "an important part of the puzzle" would be unveiled at the Los Angeles car show in November.

This goal is especially audacious when you consider Hyundai is pushing into the luxury market with V-8 powered sedans like the Genesis and the Equus, which would ostensibly bring down the company's overall gas mileage, currently sitting at 30.9 mpg as of 2008.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

For all you frugal folks out there, this seems like good news. The Toyota Prius and other hybrids have been criticized as being too costly upfront to provide much in the way of overall savings from their sky-high gas mileage.

Hyundai is known as a company that focuses on keeping prices low to its competitors. If it starts building advanced fuel-saving technology into its low- and mid-priced models, that will put pressure on other carmakers to follow suit.

Makes you wonder what the "important part of the puzzle" is. Any idea what that might be?

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