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Are Manual Transmission Cars More Fuel Efficient Than Automatics?

Every gearhead swears by the driving fun of manual transmission. It’s more thrilling and fun because shuffling gears makes every driver feels like driving a racing car. The budget-shoppers are also a fan of stick shifts because their prices are a bit less than the cars with an automatic transmission. But, are manual transmission cars more fuel efficient than automatics? Well, that is the matter of a long-standing debate.

Are Manual Transmission Cars More Fuel Efficient Than Automatics?

Many people think that stick shift cars save fuel more than an automatic. But, it’s often not true when you include today’s automatic cars with advanced technology into the picture.

Why did people consider manual cars as a fuel-efficient choice? It is because of their braking mechanism. If you want to stop such a car, you have to shift into the neutral gear and depress the clutch. On the other hand, an automatic vehicle stays in gear when you stop it, which is good for city driving with a heavy traffic but bad for the mileage, especially when you are driving at a low speed.

automatic transmission
Modern automatics offer better mileage than their manual counterparts. (Photo Source: everypixel)

Are manual transmission cars more fuel efficient than automatics manufactured these days? Not really. Modern automatic vehicles save more fuel than their manual counterparts at higher speeds. Why does this happen? It is because they have more gears than the manuals produced these days. It means their engine is capable of transferring the same amount of power to the wheels with a lower engine speed, aka fewer revolutions, which means less burning of fuel.

A new type of transmission called CVT (continuously variable transmission) that mimics some functions of a manual but operates a lot like an automatic offers the best fuel-efficiency of all the available options. The transmission can operate in numerous gear ratios, which means it enables the engine to send enough power to the wheels at a lower rev.

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Is There No Fuel-Efficient Manual Transmission Car?

Of course, there is! In fact, you will find plenty of manual transmission vehicles that offer better mileage than their automatic counterparts. But, the argument that manuals, in general, are better than automatics does no longer have a strong base.

An older manual will require fewer trips to the gas station than an older automatic. Also, a manual can provide a few extra mpg on any vehicle if you are driving mostly in cities with a heavy traffic.

Which Type Should You Choose?

You already know that having a manual transmission does not guarantee fuel efficiency. Automakers these days are more interested in implementing advanced technologies in automatic vehicles to make them more efficient in every sense. In the United States, the automakers have to manufacture their cars according to the government-mandated standards for fuel economy. Also, most consumers like to drive automatic cars because they are easier to operate.

are manual transmission cars more fuel efficient than automatics
Many people choose manuals solely for having fun while driving. (Photo Source: philkotse)

So, the choice ultimately lands upon you. You have to decide which type of car suits your requirements.

Are manual transmission cars more fuel efficient than automatics? No, mostly not. In fact, modern automatics may yield a better mileage. Shall you choose a manual or an automatic car? Depends on you. Skilled drivers like how the manual transmission gives them more control over the driving but the automatics are the easier option for the rest.

1 Comment
  1. Kevo says

    When I eventually get to purchase a car from ‘Car from Japan’, you can bet your last dollar it will be a manual one. Not because of the fuel consumption, but from the thrill obtained from driving one.

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