As carmakers look for innovative and low cost technologies to improve fuel economy of their cars, one such method quickly garnering acclaim is a feature known as engine stop-start tech. The system essentially shuts down the engine to save fuel when the car is sitting idly in traffic and then almost instantly kicks it back into life once the accelerator is depressed or the clutch is engaged.

So far the technology has only featured in cars equipped with conventional manual transmissions but at a conference in Berlin this week automotive parts supplier ZF has said it will have a version ready for automatic cars by 2009. ZF CEO Hans-Georg Haerter didn’t want to give any details but hinted that almost every carmaker will be offering engine stop-start tech in the near future.

Other fuel saving technologies ZF is working on include a new eight-speed automatic and improvements to vehicle drivetrain efficiency. ZF’s own testing has shown that its new eight-speed auto improves fuel consumption by up to 6% over its current six-speed auto. It might not seem like much, but with all the technologies combined cars can see reductions of up to 20%, which is a fairly nice figure considering oil prices today.