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/ Source: The Detroit Bureau

With increasingly stringent mileage standards coming down the pike over the next decade, automakers are frantically racing to find ways to boost the fuel economy of their vehicles. A new study suggests that “Stop-Start” technology — which shuts an engine off, rather than idling — can reduce fuel consumption by 5 percent to 7 percent. And it achieves a similar reduction in the production of global-warming CO2 emissions, according to research by the AAA. “Up to 7 percent improved fuel economy can mean a $179 annual fuel savings for consumers,” says Greg Brannon, director of AAA’s Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations team. The auto club based its estimate on a motorist driving 15,000 miles a year in a vehicle averaging 20 mpg, with fuel prices running $3.65 a gallon. The financial benefits of Stop-Start decline when the technology is used on vehicles already getting better mileage, and some makers say the fuel savings are closer to 1-3 percent. Navigant Research says Stop-Start was used on just 500,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. last year but estimates that will reach 7 million by 2022.

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-Paul A. Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau