A comprehensive quasi-dimensional computer simulation of the spark-ignition (SI) engine was used to explore part-load, fuel economy benefits of the Variable Stroke Engine (VSE) compared to the conventional throttled engine. First it was shown that varying stroke can replace conventional throttling to control engine load, without changing the engine characteristics. Subsequently, the effects of varying stroke on turbulence, burn rate, heat transfer, and pumping and friction losses were revealed. Finally these relationships were used to explain the behavior of the VSE as stroke is reduced. Under part load operation, it was shown that the VSE concept can improve brake specific fuel consumption by 18% to 21% for speeds ranging from 1500 to 3000 rpm. Further, at part load, NOx was reduced by up to 33%. Overall, this study provides insight into changes in processes within and outside the combustion chamber that cause the benefits and limitations of the VSE concept.