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Hyundai, Kia named most fuel efficient carmakers by U.S. agency

By Korea Herald

Published : March 9, 2012 - 19:23

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Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. were named the most fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly carmakers by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, outperforming rivals such as Toyota Motor Corp.

In the EPA’s annual report “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Fuel Economy Trends,” Hyundai and Kia cars for the model year 2010 showed the highest average fuel economy of 27 miles per gallon, or 11.5 kilometers per liter.

The two Korean automakers were tied for first place, followed by Toyota in third with 25.4 mpg. Honda Motor Co. came next with 24.9 mpg.

Hyundai also marked the lowest carbon dioxide emissions at 329 grams per mile (206 grams per kilometer), followed by Kia at 330 g/m. They beat Toyota (350 g/m) and Honda (347 g/m).

Hyundai and Kia also topped the forecast of 2011 model-year fuel economy ratings, with 27.5 miles per gallon and 27.2 mpg, respectively, according to the report.

Hyundai Motor Group said it has emerged as a leading environmentally-friendly company in the U.S. auto market where authorities are tightening regulations on vehicles.

The U.S. government announced plans to require automakers to achieve an average fuel economy of 34.1 mpg and reach 250 grams per mile in CO2 emissions by model-year 2016.

Hyundai and Kia said they were increasing investment in research and development of fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly technologies including new direct injection and turbocharging technologies.

To improve fuel economy, they are also stepping up efforts to downsize engines and reduce the weight of vehicles by using more high-tensile steel sheets and lightweight, highly durable materials for auto parts.

The companies introduced their new hybrid lineups for the best-selling Sonata and Optima models in the U.S. market last year.

Having unveiled compact electric cars such as the Hyundai BlueOn and the Kia Ray, the automakers plan to release semi-midsize electric cars in 2014 and establish a mass production system for hydrogen fuel-cell cars in 2015.

Hyundai Motor Group posted record sales of 1.13 million vehicles in the United States last year.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)