Environment Forum

Ford to install engine start-stop technology on gasoline-powered cars

USA/Traffic jams could start to get quieter in 2012 when Ford begins to install its Auto Start-Stop technology on gasoline-powered cars sold in North America.

The technology, currently used on hybrid Ford vehicles, cuts off the engine when a car is stopped at a traffic light and switches it back on when the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal.

Ford says Auto Start-Stop will improve fuel economy of conventional cars between four and 10 percent. And engine shutoffs will result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. (In car-congested metropolises like Los Angeles and Houston, one could also expect to see a reduction in air pollution if the technology was widely adopted.)

Improvements in internal combustion engine technology allow cars to re-start instantly, according to the vice president of power train engineering at Ford, Barb Samardzich.

“The direct-injection system, which sprays the exact amount of fuel directly into the precise location in the combustion chamber, helps enable extremely fast engine starts,” Ford said in a statement. “The system includes a light on the dash that alerts the driver when the engine is off and a special tachometer that moves the needle to a green zone when the engine is not running.”

GM, Chrysler cleared executive decks in 2009

When 2009 began, both General Motors and Chrysler were sliding toward bankruptcy. As the year ends, both companies have survived to fight another day.

The same can’t be said for their senior executives.

Of the top 10 executives at GM’s glass-towered Detroit headquarters in January, only one — Bob Lutz – remains.  At Chrysler, only two of the 10 highest-ranking executives are still in Auburn Hills.  

At GM, the churn took a dramatic toll at the vice president level. Of the 55 top executives, including vice presidents and divisional leaders, who were at GM at the start of the year, 26 have left the automaker.  Of the remainder, few remain in the same positions they held, according to a Reuters tally.

from Tales from the Trail:

Cash for Clunkers: the day after

One of the most popular programs brought in by the administration of President Barack Obama, "cash for clunkers", which offered rebates of up to $4,500 to trade in older gas guzzlers, wrapped up on Monday.


Some auto dealers are concerned about the slow pace of reimbursements under the program and the low inventories that have followed in its wake.

(PHOTO: A clunker vehicle sits in a parking lot during the last day of the "Cash For Clunkers" auto rebate program at Courtesy Chevrolet dealership in Phoenix, Arizona, August 24, 2009. REUTERS/Joshua Lott)