Automatic/stick shift


#1

WHICH IS BETTER FOR GAS ECONOMY? AN AUTOMATIC OR A STICK SHIFT, USED IN A CAR WITH A SMALL DISPLACEMENT ENGINE.


#2

Stick shift by a good margin - if you know how to drive it.


#3

IT DEPENDS. TRADITIONALLY, MANUALS HAVE YIELDED BETTER MILEAGE DUE TO LESS SLIPPAGE, BUT IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, SOME AUTOMATICS ARE RATED BETTER DUE TO DIFFERENT GEARING. CHECK THE FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS AT WWW.FUELECONOMY.GOV TO SEE FOR THE SPECIFIC MODEL YOU’RE LOOKING AT.


#4

You’ll need to check the EPA ratings for the actual models. Some cars rate better mileage for automatics. Automatic trannys these days are so precisely controlled for the optimum shift points that it’s pretty difficult for the average manual driver to beat them…unless most of the driving i8s highway, in which case the larger overdrive ratio will win.


#5

On older generation cars the manual shift would easily win an economy run. This is no longer universally true. For the most modern cars the difference is extremely small, certainly not worth the inconvenience of the manual shift for nearly everyone. These days the stick shift is essentially only for the true aficcionado, not the strict penny-pincher.


#6

If I was to enter a fuel economy contest, I would still take a manual over an automatic simply because there are things that you can do with a manual that aren’t easy or possible to do with an automatic, such as intermittent engine runs a.k.a. pulse and glide.


#7

It depends on auto transmission installed in the vehicle. The real answer it depends. I would not use this as any sort of consideration just go on preference.


#8

On my new Kia Spectra5 the automatic is rated for better highway economy, and the manual is rated for better city economy (25/35 auto and 27/32 manual). This is because the auto has a higher final overdrive ratio, but the manual has close gearing which is good for a city if you know what you’re doing. I chose the auto because I encounter a lot of stop%go traffic on the DC beltway and it’s very hard on clutches. My “fun” cars are always stick shift, but for my DD it’s an auto for now. Modern autos are nearly on par, and occasionally better, than manuals for fuel economy. And it’s so hard to put a clutch in a sidewinder that it’s not worth it. I can put a clutch in my truck in 2 hours. Takes most of a weekend with a front wheel drive car, and you’re going to wear out a clutch before an auto (provided you take care of the fluid and filter changes properly).


#9

Depends on the car and the type of driving. if the car has a ‘locker’ torque convertor and you’re driving all highway miles there’s no real difference.

But the effective use of a manual shift in town driving will yield better fuel economy that an automatic, though this may be offset by the cost of the clutch replacement.


#10

Some cars made in the last 10 years are available with a CVT transmission, which is an automatic that gets better fuel economy than the same car with a manual transmission. The truth is, the the difference in fuel economy between a normal automatic and a standard isn’t large enough to be the sole criterion in your decision. If you want an automatic, don’t get a manual transmission just for the fuel economy. If you are comfortable driving both types of cars, the manual might give you slightly better fuel economy than a normal automatic. A manual will likely have lower repair and maintenance costs (if driven properly) and will definitely be more fun to drive.


#11

I will also say that from my own observation, the manual will still beat the automatic in real-world conditions. For example, I drive an automatic 2006 Scion for work that is EPA rated higher than the manual, but I pretty consistently get about 5mpg less than the EPA rating on the highway. On other cars, I almost always get the EPA rating or better, such as my '86 Accord (manual) that’s rated at 30mpg highway, but I usually get 32-33.

I’ve noticed in the section on www.fueleconomy.gov that has the “real world” observations that the mileages people report for the manuals are consistently higher even on cars where the automatics supposedly get better.