By 2015 Mazda Cars Will No Longer Idle

I’ve brought up the subject of idling cars a few times before on this blog. Ford says letting your car idle and warm up reduces emissions, while a county in England wants to make it illegal to leave a car idling (except in certain cases). It is a case for contention among environmentalists and automakers, though for sure idling in bumper-to-bumper traffic does nobody any good. Which makes one wonder why we don’t have more instances of stop-start engine technology here in the U.S.

Turns out we might have it fairly soon. Mazda is pledging to bring its stop-start anti-idling technology to all of its cars by 2015… despite EPA regulations that discourage such technology. Aren’t they supposed to be on our side?

I’ve got a whole list of reasons why I don’t like the EPA, mostly having to do with their “real world” fuel efficiency testing procedures. For example, the EPA only tests a very small sampling of new cars for gas mileage rating. Mostly, they rely on automakers to follow a “formula” to get new MPG ratings, and should they discover a discrepancy, they “work it out”. Oh, and all the “real world” tests are done in a warehouse on a dynometer. Real world? Yeah right.

As the EPA’s testing cycle involves only one stop, the benefits of stop-start technology are lost on the testing, despite delivering significant gains in the real world. This is why Europe has many models offered with stop-start technology, which is a $500 option on Mazdas. But the EPA testing procedure shows only a 0.1 to 0.2 improvement in mpg, though Mazda’s own tests show an improvement from 7% to 9%. Despite the EPA’s terrible testing, Mazda will bring the technology over as a standard feature in 2015, to help meet new CAFE fuel economy standards. Mazda’s clever system times the restart so that it takes about a third of a second… the only thing you’ll likely notice is the extra fuel in your tank!

Rather than concentrating on hybrids or electric vehicles, Mazda is betting a lot of money that the future is in hydrogen… but in the meantime, it’s improving the internal combustion engine. Direct injection, lighter weight, and improved gas efficiency is the name of Mazda’s game. But will it pay off?

Source: The Truth About Cars | Image: Mazda


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.