Cylinder deactivation is a fuel-saving technology that allows a vehicle to shut down some of its cylinders when extra power is not needed like when cruising down the highway at a constant speed. The cylinders can be activated under heavy load situations like towing or acceleration where more power is required. This technology is particularly well suited to light trucks where the power requirements for hauling, towing and cruising vary greatly. In model year 2011, 38% of pickup trucks and 17% of vans and SUVs had engines with cylinder deactivation while just 3% of cars took advantage of the technology.
Cylinder Deactivation by Vehicle Type, Model Year 2011
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2011 EPA-420-R-12-001, March 2012.