As automakers stretch to improve fuel economy, consumers will face all sorts of new technology including one that will take some getting used to because it shuts the engine down at red-lights.

As many as 8 million vehicles sold in the United States will have the so-called "stop-start "technology by 2017, according to a study released by Lux Research, an independent research firm that monitors emerging technologies.

Stop-start systems are common in Europe, which has long been ahead of the U.S. on fuel efficiency, but so far it is in only a few vehicles in the U.S. Is it worth it? Start-stop can improve fuel economy by as much as 12 percent, according to AAA.

Here's how it works: Start-stop technology can power down a car's engine when it's idling or when the brakes are applied, such as at a red-light, and returns power in time for acceleration.

The technology itself is not new - some trucks have used it for two decades. But automakers have advanced it as they search for ways to comply with the 34.1 miles-per-gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard that goes into effect in 2016.

"This technology is only going to gain momentum," said John Nielsen, AAA's Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair.

More than 40 percent of vehicles sold in Europe and Japan already use start-stop technology, according to AAA. In the U.S., hybrid cars offer stop-start, and in 2012, a few luxury automakers began offering it in conventional vehicles, notably the BMW 3-series. Kia has also rolling it into the Soul and Rio at the lower end of the price ladder.

While many automakers, such as BMW and Porsche, offer it as standard equipment, others, like Ford, are offering it as an add-on. The 2013 Ford Fusion, for example, will come with a start-stop option priced at $295.

Consumers can expect to save an average of $167 per year, the study says, based on 12,000 miles driven per year and $3.75 per gallon prices with an average of 20 mpgs.

Whether or not consumers accept the technology may be another matter. In some vehicles, the start-stop system operates so seamlessly, the driver may not notice it at all. In others, the lag between starting and stopping is more pronounced. AOL Autos has tested different systems, and has found, for example, that General Motors system, found on the Chevy Malibu Eco and Buick LaCrosse eAssist works almost invisibly, while the system on the BMW 3 Series was a little more pronounced and even rough.

The automakers, as well as dealers, are challenged to educate buyers about how it works. At first, it can be disconcerting, to feel the car's engine go off and then come back on at a red-light, especially for seniors who have been driving for many decades.

"There is no question that there are drivers and car buyers who are going to have to be walked through it - how it works and what it's on their car," Rebecca Lindland, chief of auto industry analysis at HIS Global Insight, said.


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  • 457 Comments
      Johnny Angel
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'LL still be driving my 97' Buick you Can't kill These cars
      jacksonville Fl
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just another way this goverment will control our life.
      Killuminati_13
      • 2 Years Ago
      As long as there is an option to shut it off it won't matter much.
      dc walker
      • 2 Years Ago
      There is more oil in North Dakota than in Saudi Arabia, how about we drill for cheap oil, save the billions that leave the country, and then in the meantime work on safer fuels, bio, etc. Coal (if Italy can burn clean coal why can't we) etc.....When I got my license gas was .20 a gallon in the sixties, it didn't mean we drove more, in fact I rode the bus to school no car pools, etc......
      fecoyle
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another goodie coming from the Goverment.Probably will work as good as the Post Office & obama care
      flyingfortresb17
      • 2 Years Ago
      Give me a good old Chevrolet Malibu 396 Supersport with a fuel injected engine 4:11 positrac rearend. Gold in color with black stripping.
      eeverettm
      • 2 Years Ago
      Stop using corn to make fuel. Food price is already sky high because of it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      does it matter??? the powers that control the cost of gas will just jack up the price anyways. they'll make sure they get theirs one way or another.
      gene
      • 2 Years Ago
      Must be a lot of fun in stop-and-go traffic during morning and evening commutes... Logistically, I can't see how, for $300, an electic motor and battery can be installed to keep the AC going as well as the technology to keep re-starting the engine without burning out the starter, etc.
      genowhitaker
      • 2 Years Ago
      OMG I am so sick of the constant negativity. The only thing it is doing is keeping you all unhappy. Start-stop technology is used by almost every car manufacturer in Europe-from smart up to BMW and Mercedes and every price level in between. And what about the start-stop technology on the current Buick LaCrosse already? Oh, but that is "socialist", oh I don't like "being told what to do". I don't like enriching Oil Companies and making Saudi princes rich so they can fund terrorists, so I like the idea of improving mpg on automobiles. Sorry if that is tooooo positive for the rest of you.
        rohlemeyer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @genowhitaker
        If we build the Keystone Pipeline and exploit our own vast oil resources through things like fracking, we won't have to "make Saudi Princes rich."
      Hello Butch
      • 2 Years Ago
      The GOP and oil co. sure will be pissed off.
      Jetncat
      • 2 Years Ago
      So we can save $167.00 a year in gas playing stop & go but exactly how many starter motors and transmissions do you think we will go through?
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