American automaker Ford has largely shifted to a small-car strategy as of late, focusing marketing efforts on cars like the Fusion and Fiesta while modifying classics like the F-150 and Mustang to offer more fuel efficient rides. The company seems to be furthering that aim by announcing that it hopes to have "stop-start" technology available on all cars for sale by 2012.
The feature is a simple and cost-effective way to decrease the fuel consumption of any vehicle, and is already available on Ford's European models along with the American Ford Escape and Fusion hybrids. By detecting when a vehicle is fully stopped, the feature shuts off the engine in order to reduce the fuel wasted while a vehicle is idling. When the driver presses the accelerator, the engine automatically starts up again with no noticeable lag or delay – similar to a "sleep mode" for an automobile.
With commuters typically forced to come to a stop in heavy traffic and city dwellers dealing with numerous red lights, Ford claims that the technology can increase fuel economy by anywhere between four and 10 percent. The EPA has not yet included stop-start testing in their official fuel efficiency ratings, so the MPGs for any Ford cars that use technology likely won't see a bump for a few more years.