Europe is already knee-deep in start-stop technology, but we Yanks haven't been invited to that party yet. Why? Because of differences in the way the U.S. tests fuel economy, for the most part. Without a real numbers difference to sell the feature, it's hard to justify the added cost. Ford, however, is moving ahead with plans to add the fuel-saving tech to its North American fleet of cars--including non-hybrids--starting in 2012.

The news, released today, means that most of Ford's range could see boosts of four to ten percent in real-world city fuel economy. It's also yet another example of Ford moving to unify its global vehicle offerings.

Ford is no stranger to start-stop tech: over 170,000 hybrids sold in North America since 2004 have used it, and Ford's European vehicles account for even more. The first vehicles to get the automatic start-stop system globally are the Focus, C-Max and Grand C-Max (which we'll be getting soon as the North American C-Max).

The first of Ford's auto start-stop cars won't arrive in the U.S. until 2012, and when they do, you may not even notice it, according to Ford. "Ford Auto Start-Stop works so fast and so seamlessly, most drivers won’t even notice it is there, though they will notice the benefits in their lower fuel bills," said Barb Samardzich, Ford's vice-president of powertrain engineering, in a press release.

Changes to vehicles getting the start-stop function will include an upgraded 12-volt battery capable of powering the extra starts, an upgraded starter motor, and the necessary control electronics.