Auto Start/Stop Can Be Disconcerting, But It Really Does Work
I'm not going to lie, when I got my new Ford Maverick I was pumped about so many new features.
Navigation, heated seats, heated steering wheel, calculated gas mileage, back-up camera and more made this the neatest purchase I'd ever made (I've never actually owned a brand new car until now).
But one new feature had me a little uncomfortable.
A lot of new cars come with the auto start/stop feature, meaning the car turns itself off every time you are stopped and idling. The concept adopted by a lot of car companies is this:
"Auto Start/Stop Technology automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a full stop and idles for more than a few seconds. Once the driver puts pressure on the accelerator, then the engine turns back on. It's simple, and some say it can save between 3-5% of gas in stop-and-go traffic."
The folks over at Edmunds.com didn't like the ambiguity of "3-5%" and decided they would run their own tests.
Their study found that not only does auto start/stop work, but it actually does even better than the "3-5%."
From their website:
"All three of our test subjects delivered 9-10 percent ... in city traffic. People who live in particularly tough traffic areas with long wait times could do even better.
And the systems were mostly easy to live with. Restarts were fairly seamless and seemed appropriately quick for drivers who use the same foot for throttle and brake.
Functionally, stop-start doesn't take very long to get used to — in our three test cars, at least."
Edmunds said the auto start/stop feature in new cars does require some getting used to, and the electrical system has to be reconfigured as a heartier battery and starting system is a must, but ultimately it does save you money at the pump (at least a dollar a tank), and conceivably helps the environment.
Still, if you grew up in the 60s and 70s, its hard to hear the engine shut off at every light and not be worried that your car just stalled. From Edmunds:
The biggest obstacle is mental: overcoming that sinking feeling that your engine just died. Once you get past that, you'll welcome the silence.
I'm working on it. Not there yet, but working on it.