Feature is being added to more U.S. cars in 2013 model year
A technology that saves gasoline by stopping and starting the engine when a vehicle is idle is gaining ground in the U.S.
The stop-start system, a technology that shuts off a vehicle's engine when stopped in traffic, is fairly common in Europe and Japan. Lux Research predicts that more than eight million vehicles in North America will be equipped with engine stop-start systems by 2017.
As the name implies, the system shuts down the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop, such as at a traffic signal. It springs back to life when the driver touches the accelerator. With each start and stop it saves a few drops of fuel.
Around since the 80s
The technology has been around for a while -- as far back as the 1980s. But while 40 percent of the vehicles in Europe and Japan are equipped with the feature, it hasn't caught on in the U.S. But that's going to change, experts say, as more cars for the U.S. market are being equipped with the technology.
Currently all hybrid cars have stop-start capability but use a different technology than the systems on conventional powertrains. The first non-hybrid stop-start systems in the U.S. market are on 2012 highline vehicles from BMW, Mercedes and Porsche, according to AAA.
Jaguar is adding the system for the 2013 model year, as are popularly priced models from Ford and Kia. Even trucks will start to see some systems with Dodge adding stop-start to its V6-powered Ram 1500 pickup for a one mile per gallon fuel economy improvement.
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