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Ford Fusion to get mileage-boosting option

April 2, 2012
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DETROIT—Ford says it will offer a low-cost option on its new Fusion sedan that will boost its gas mileage.

The option, called stop-start technology, automatically shuts off the engine at stop lights and restarts it when the driver presses the gas. It will add at least 1 mile per gallon to the fuel economy of the midsize car, but it could be higher if the car is driven mainly in city traffic, Ford says.

The technology will cost $295 and will be available on Fusions equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine.

Cars equipped with it will get an estimated 26 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, Ford says.

Many gas-electric hybrids and some luxury cars already have the technology, but Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields says the company wanted to offer it on a mainstream vehicle.

Buyers will get their money back in nine months to a year, depending on how they drive and the price of gas, Fields said.

"With gas prices in some parts of the country being upwards of $4.50 a gallon, I think this will be pretty appealing for folks," he said.

BMW offers the technology as standard equipment on some of its gas-engine models, and General Motors has a more sophisticated version on the Chevrolet Malibu Eco and Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan. Those cars also have a small electric motor that helps boost mileage.

The Malibu Eco starts at $25,235 and gets 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Ford has not announced the price of the 2013 Fusion, which hits showrooms in the fall.

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