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2011 Hyundai Elantra

Hi, our 2011 new Hyundai Elantra was bought because it was advertised to get 29/40 mpg. we average about 22 mpg combined. no where near where we need to be. A quick internet search shows that there are many others across the country who are also getting this poor mileage (really off from where it should be). Others say they are getting the mileage, which would tell me that there is something different on some of these cars. Driving habits could account for some of these issues but a 52 year old lady would have to be doing something drastic in a 4 cylinder car to bring the mileage down this far. we are looking into the lemon law . Any advice?

Is the Lemon Law applicable in the case of a car that appears to be operating properly, has no CEL warning light lit up, and only has a “problem” regarding gas mileage? While I can’t claim to know the definitive answer to that question, I strongly suspect that the Lemon Law would not apply in this type of situation.

Why do I say that?
Because the biggest variable in gas mileage on a new (or new-ish), properly-running car is the driver himself/herself.

When Consumer Reports tested this model, they achieved an overall mpg figure of 29 mpg, which they proclaimed to be “very good”. That overall figure was their average from an unspecified mixture of highway and local driving. However, nobody–including the OP–knows how her typical driving habits and driving patterns compare to the driving habits and patterns of the CR test drivers.

Before the OP goes to the trouble of beginning a dispute with Hyundai over the car’s gas mileage, I would suggest that she do the following:

Check the tire pressure, and verify that it is at least as high as the pressure specified on the label affixed to the driver’s door jamb. Inflating the tires to ~3 or 4 lbs over the specified number will improve handling and gas mileage slightly.
Make sure that you are not “warming up” the engine. This is unnecessary on a modern car, unless the ambient temperature is…extremely low…and even then, 30 seconds of warm-up is all that is really necessary.
Do NOT use drive-up windows at banks and fast-food joints. Both your wallet and your health will benefit if you park the car and walk into these establishments.
Get the junk out of the trunk. If you are carrying around anything other than the spare tire and the jack on a regular basis, this extra weight is reducing your mileage.
Avoid jack-rabbit starts
Do NOT tailgate other cars. Tailgaters have to use the brake much more often than people who leave a 3-second following distance, and every time that you apply the brake, you are reducing your gas mileage. The driver who can coast (rather than brake) when someone in front slows down will always get better gas mileage and will get many more miles from his brakes. (If you don’t know what “the 3-second rule” means, please be honest, and let me know so that I can explain it to you!)
If you are doing mostly local, short-trip driving, bear in mind that you will likely never achieve the rated mpg figures.
Verify that your maintenance is up to date. Even though this car is new to you, it has likely been in service for well over a year, and if anyone has been lax with maintenance, this can also impact your gas mileage negatively.

As usual, VDC wrote an excellent post and I agree with it in its entirety.

I also want to add that I didn;t see anywhere in your post that you’ve given the dealership a chance to take a look-see. Until you do that, your investigating the lemon law is a bit premature.

Since the OP did not tell us about her usual driving conditions, I want to add an additional thought:

My usual average gas mileage in local driving is 23-24 mpg, and because my driving patterns rarely vary, the figures always seem to stay in that range. However, today I was stuck in stop & go (mostly stop) traffic for about 15 minutes. As a result, my average mileage went down to 19.2 mpg.

If my gas mileage takes a 4 mpg hit from just 15 minutes of stop & go traffic, the OP’s reduced gas mileage would be completely understandable if she typically drives in stop & go traffic.

Mamajayne–How many times have you taken it to the dealer’s service department because of this issue?
And…Could you fill us in on your typical driving patterns, the state of the car’s maintenance, what the dealership’s service department has said in response to your complaint, and anything else additional that might give us more insight?

The first question to ask is what kind of gas mileage did the 52 year old lady get with her previous car, and what model car was that? If the previous car was rated at 30 mpg and she only got 15, then the problem is not in the car. But if she used to get 30 in a car rated for 30, and nothing else has changed, then she may have an issue.