Start-Stop Systems: Getting the Green Light on Mainstream Cars

vehicle start-stop systems One of the major fuel-saving features on hybrid vehicles is now being incorporated into some non-hybrid cars — start-stop systems.

Start-stop systems are designed to save fuel by shutting off the engine any time a car comes to a stop, such as at red lights. They then automatically restart the engine the instant the driver lets off the brake or clutch or touches the accelerator. By eliminating unnecessary engine idle, the start-stop systems cut fuel consumption by 3 to 10 percent, with the savings being greater in stop-and-go city driving.

Hybrid vehicles have always had this start-stop capability, and the feature has been available in Europe on many cars with manual transmissions for several years. But it has only recently become available in the U.S. and on vehicles with automatic transmissions.

Fuel savings through better batteries

Start-stop systems require cars to have computer systems that can quickly determine when they need to turn the engine off or on and set up the ignition system so that it can start the engine quickly (in about 0.25 seconds). But the biggest difference in hardware has to do with the vehicle’s battery.

A start-stop system requires the battery to start the engine dozens of times per day and doesn’t allow nearly as much time to recharge between starts. In addition, the battery often must power the lights, radio and climate control system while the engine is off.

To handle the workload, start-stop systems use pressurized absorbed glass mat (or AGM) batteries. AGM batteries are more powerful than traditional lead batteries and recharge up to five times faster.

Monetary savings

Though start-stop systems and AGM batteries do carry an additional cost, drivers can recoup that cost through fuel savings. EPA averages tend to underestimate the savings such systems provide, so your real-world mileage may be better than advertised.

And, of course, the fuel savings also translate into fewer emissions, making these vehicles better for the environment.

At, you can find a wide range of lease vehicles with the latest in fuel-saving technologies. Contact us to find out how lease transfers can help you save money.

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