| CARCHEX Research Center

Do Manual Transmission Cars Get Better Gas Mileage?

For auto enthusiasts, there’s nothing like driving a high performance car with a stick shift. With manual transmission you have total control over the car, and it’s more fun to drive. But do manual transmission cars get better gas mileage? The answer might surprise you.

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Why Manual Transmission Gets Better Gas Mileage

Manual transmissions are mechanically simpler since the work of changing gears is done by the driver. In contrast, automatic transmissions require more complex mechanics to change gears, and this consumes fuel. Also, automatic transmissions are heavier which means more fuel consumption as well.

When Automatics Are Just As Good or Better

In the past, manual transmission cars were more fuel efficient for every make and model, but modern engineering has made the contest much closer.

For example, the 2013 BMW 328i sedan gets the same gas mileage (26 mpg) from automatic or manual transmissions according to Edmunds. Also, the 2014 Ford Focus with automatic transmission gets better gas mileage than its manual counterpart (31 mpg vs. 30 mpg).

Global Trends

According to Fox News, currently 10 percent of vehicles made in North America now have manual transmissions, down from 35 percent in 1980. This makes it tough for stick-loving drivers to get their fix. In Europe and Latin America, on the other hand, the vast majority of cars sold still carry manual transmission.

Why People Prefer Manual Transmission

Even though automatics are easier to drive, some prefer stick shifts because they:

Despite these traditional arguments, new car development is leveling the playing field in every area, not just fuel efficiency. Also, a whole host of new shifting technology has made the distinction between manual and automatic less clear. Some vehicles these days allow you to alternate between the automatic and manual driving experience depending on your needs at the time.

More Stick Shift Savings

Another factor to consider is that the manual version of a car may save you up to $1,200 off the sticker price. Along with better gas mileage, this adds up to a significant savings.

However, in the United States manual transmission cars are getting harder to find. Plus, many auto dealers might not have these vehicles in stock, so you’ll have to order from the factory which can take weeks to deliver your car.

Other Ways To Save

Besides purchasing a manual transmission car, another way to save is by implementing improved driving habits such as gradual acceleration and braking. These techniques can save you on gas and maintenance costs (less brake pad wear, etc.)

Also, if you are financing your car, refinancing your auto loan could save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan.

Get a free auto refinance quote from CARCHEX now, and see how much you can save.

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