Promoting what it sees as an ultimate win-win, Chevrolet has announced that 97 percent of people who purchased a 2014 or 2015 Malibu opted for the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that comes with fuel-saving start/stop technology. As part of its 2014 redesign, Malibu became the first vehicle in the midsize segment to include this feature as standard equipment on its base engine. Start/stop shuts down the engine when the vehicle comes to a complete stop and then automatically restarts it when the driver releases the brake pedal. Coupled with the 2.5-liter's new valve-lift control system and a 6-speed automatic transmission, the setup contributed to a 14-percent gain in the new Malibu's city EPA rating - which rose from 22 to 25 mpg. One of the smoothest-operating start/stop systems on the market, Chevy also fitted this econo-enhancing tweak to the 2.5-liter Ecotec engine that's standard in the 2015 Chevrolet Impala. There, it raises EPA city mpg on that full-size 4-door by five percent, to 22 mpg.
Beyond savings at the pump, start/stop offers a potentially painless way to reduce the amount of fuel vehicles use when idling in traffic while also trimming greenhouse gas emissions. Chevy cited a recent survey by the Hinkle Charitable Foundation indicating that roughly 3.8 million gallons of gasoline are wasted each day while cars are standing still. That no-return burn produces about 40,000 tons of CO2 in any given 24-hour period -- the equivalent of annual greenhouse gas emissions from 7,112 vehicles.
Other automakers are expected to follow Chevy's lead when it comes to adopting start/stop technology on a wide-ranging basis to help meet the more stringent 54.5-mpg CAFE fuel economy regulations set to kick in for 2017. A recent study by Navigant Research found that fitment of these systems is projected to rise from 8.8 million vehicles globally in 2013 to 55.4 million in 2020.
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