America has always been a land of extremes, and our automotive scene is no different. While current automotive debate obsesses over a high-efficiency halo car, our domestic auto industry is mounting a comeback largely on the back of pickups and large cars and crossovers. Meanwhile, we’re falling behind in the quest to make all cars more efficient with practical “bolt-on” systems like “stop-start” or “microhybrid” systems that turn off gas engines at stops. So what are we missing out on? According to a report from SeekingAlpha, stop-start systems provide
estimated fuel savings range from 5% in government mandated tests and 10% under real world city-highway driving to almost 20% in congested city traffic
Which would provide a hell of a lot more fuel savings than any high-price, limited-production eco-halo car. But, as Mazda has complained, the US EPA test cycle doesn’t provide any Monroney Sticker advantage to stop-start systems, even if they provide real-world improvements in fuel efficiency. Maybe instead of trying to keep EVs and plug-in halos on subsidy life support as long as possible, our government should be looking at ways of incentivizing across-the-board efficiency improvements like those offered by stop-start systems.