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GM to dole out debit cards, extended warranties as part of fuel-economy compensation plan

If every owner comes to collect, this could cost the company some $100 million dollars.

This is a 2014 Buick Enclave, but the 2016 model included in this debacle looks exactly the same.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

General Motors last week admitted to applying incorrect fuel-economy numbers to several new SUVs. For vehicles still in dealerships, that just means the cars can't be sold until the window stickers are updated. But for cars in owners' garages, it's a different story. Now, we've got an idea of how GM will make things right with those owners.

For the 135,000 or so owners in the US (along with 11,000 in Canada), Reuters reports that GM will offer up two different methods of compensation. The first is a debit card worth between $450 and $900 ($1,000 and $1,300 Canadian), and the second is an extended warranty, good for 48 months or 60,000 miles, whatever comes first.

The compensation amount was based on $3-per-gallon gas prices and an average annual driving distance of 15,000 miles. Considering gas is cheaper than that in most parts of the US, and many owners drive fewer miles per year, that's not a bad deal.

Speaking to Reuters, unnamed sources claim this compensation should cost about $100 million. It doesn't take an unnamed source, though, to calculate that 135,000 owners all receiving an average of $740 in compensation multiplies out to $100 million. In an email, GM confirmed the package, saying letters to customers will be sent out via FedEx starting May 25.

General Motors is one of several automakers to end up in hot water over fuel economy in recent weeks. Suzuki admitted to fudging numbers on some of its Japanese models, as did Mitsubishi, and both companies are currently dealing with the ramifications, which involve lawsuits and government inquiries.