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Start stop technology. The oil crisis. Geneva.

The oil crisis looms over us menacingly yet again, one blown out of proportion by social rebellions perfect for filling even more the pockets of filthy rich sitting on crude wells or those of stock market pretty boys who get all worked up doing lines hidden away in fire escapes during their short breaks from “work” or while admiring their CK boxers in the dim laptop screen light during long nights filled with “amazing twists” and “surprising developments” for oil stocks, electronically traded well before they physically exist months later, drilled somewhere in a desert by a bunch of people living short and low quality lives, then ferried around by a drunk, fat ship captain, fatally depressed by the fact the he can’t smoke on the oil tanker and his right hand injuries he suffered during the most recent maneuvers, while the next port is 3 weeks away, 3 long weeks of... recovery.

Well, while life goes on and people experience memorable events like the recent civil unrests, rebellions, you name it, car manufacturers come up with new vehicles and new fuel consumption ratings. Of course, on paper only, based on results yielded by the now famous lab tests, where a bunch of old geezers somehow manage to show that a 5L V8 will only eat up 14 liters of fuel every 100 km in the city, when everyday facts show that it rarely goes below 30.

All this thanks to the magnificent “start stop” technology, now adopted worldwide and likely on its way to being installed in each and every new vehicle. From now on, when you buy a car, you’ll have to keep in mind that if it’s equipped with “start stop” technology, fuel consumption ratings shown in the tech specs will be phantasmagoric to say the least. Simply put, “start stop” is the both old and new technology that now helps manufacturers to lie more easily about their cars’ (lower) appetite for petrol.

And yes, it does eat up less fuel if you use “start stop” or, better yet, if you don’t use the car at all. The “only catch” is that when “start stop” is active, the engine stops quite often which means you’ll sit around in your car without the cool caress of the AC system in the summer or the warm comfort you need during winter. I’d love to get my hands on one of the geniuses who came up with this system and make him drive through a crowded city at over 104 F (40 C) in the summer, with the “start stop” function enabled. I’m really curious how many pounds the poor guy loses after spending a few hours in a metal box (a black one since it’s so trendy) in direct sunlight. The experiment works just as well in winter, mind you.

Simply put, this feature might work when there’s 71 F (22 C) outside and you don’t need to use the AC, but it’s completely impractical, in summer or winter, which in the USA and most of Europe “only” take up about 10 of a year’s 12 months

Still, this doesn’t stop car makers from claiming even lower and unbelievable fuel consumption rates, since a vehicle equipped with this system will indeed yield lower rates in ideal, lab test conditions.

To sum it all up, when you buy a car with “start stop” technology, pay close attention and don’t be fooled by the consumption rate provided by the manufacturer. It looks like crude oil prices are going to make gas even more expensive than expected and, soon, we may find ourselves thinking about powerful engines only in our wildest of dreams.

In other news, I’m getting ready to leave for Geneva, where I’ll be joined by my associates, in an incredibly small and stupid town, with only a handful of hotels with nightly rates higher than a month’s rent and uglier than a middle class Bedouin’s dwelling who only owns two camels.

Still, we will be there to bring you news about the latest (and pointless) EV gizmos, the new old dumb cars with 500 HP engines who just got upped to... 600 HP, eco models upgraded with pedals and a dynamo in order to lower urban fuel consumption, the new 50mm ground clearance car that’s very aerodynamic but can’t be used on any real road, moronic concepts imagined by students who spend way too much time in Amsterdam lately, AWD sports cars just because they’re cool and, a few real cars who will hopefully manage to elbow through all that trendy crowd.

Stay tuned to autoevolution over the next days, because otherwise you won’t know what you’re missing!


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