Auto Stop-Start technology that shuts off a vehicle’s engine when it comes to a stop to save fuel is a standard feature on many hybrid and electric-vehicles (EVs), including Ford’s Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid. Ford has now announced its Auto Start-Stop system will be added to conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in North America from 2012.

The system, which uses an enhanced 12-volt car battery and upgraded starter motor, requires no changes in driver behavior. The engine restarts the instant the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal and when the engine is off, all the vehicle’s accessories, such as the stereo, will function normally. The system includes a light on the dash that alerts the driver when the engine is off and a special tachometer that moves the needle to a green zone when the engine is not running.

Ford claims its patented new Auto Start-Stop system for gasoline engines will improve fuel economy for most drivers by at least four percent, with the gain being as high as 10 percent for some drivers. It can also reduce tailpipe emissions to zero while the vehicle is stationary at a stoplight or in a traffic jam.

The global rollout of the system, which is designed to work on both gasoline and diesel engines, is already underway in Europe where it is standard on the ECOnetic models of the Ford Ka and Mondeo. It is also launching now on the Focus, C-MAX and Grand C-MAX.

The Auto Start-Stop system will debut in North America in 2012 and will be available on gasoline-powered cars and utilities with either a manual or automatic transmission as well as vehicles that use Ford’s patented dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission. The system will eventually be offered in all markets.

Ford isn’t the first automaker to bring Auto Start-Stop technology to conventional vehicles. Over the last few years similar systems have been introduced on the Mini Cooper D, the Citroën C3, various Audi models, the Mazda3 2.0 Sport, Mercedes-Benz C-Class models and BMW’s M3 models, just to name a few.