Do manual transmission cars really get better mileage?

Sam Richards
Authored by Sam Richards
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 11:38pm
  1. Do manual transmission cars really get better mileage?

Are you deciding between an automatic or a manual transmission car? Maybe you recently got a manual vehicle and want to confirm if it gets better mileage? In this quick post, we will breakdown some facts about manual transmission cars, fuel mileage, and touch a bit about automatic transmission and hybrid vehicles. For now, the big question -

  1. Do manual cars get better mileage?

Back in the day, yes. Lately, it depends more on vehicle type. The logic behind this is that with a stick shift, the car doesn’t need to work as hard when changing gears. 

Older models of automatic transmission cars use a torque converter to help the engine change gears. As the converter helps with changing gear, it was discovered not always to be effective, causing the vehicle to lose power and utilize more fuel. In this scenario, manual transmission cars deliver better fuel efficiency. 

Automatic transmission cars have changed along with the times, however.

  1. Are manual cars more fuel-efficient?

These days, modern automatic cars are more fuel-efficient compared to their earlier automatic counterparts. In comparison with a manual transmission, automatic transmission cars can save you 1-2 miles per gallon of fuel, though this is almost unnoticeable for most. 

What may have skyrocketed the idea is a report from Consumer Reports released back in 2015. In summary, the site reported that most manual transmission cars deliver better fuel economy and acceleration. Better mileage on manual vehicles may have been true five years ago, but cars are continuously developing to be more sophisticated and fuel-efficient. 

Most automatic transmission cars now come with five-speed options, some even going as far as seven, providing even better fuel efficiency. Recently released vehicles also come with an overdrive top gear for high-speed driving saving more fuel. 

  1. How to get better gas mileage in manual cars?

Going on multiple drives a day and being stationary in traffic are sure ways to use a lot of fuel. Parking the car for hours causes the engine to be cold, and it would need a few kilometres to warm up - meanwhile using more fuel. With this, it’s best to plan your trips for the day.

If your car comes with a Start/Stop function, make sure this is always on since one of its primary functions is to help your vehicle save gas. When stuck in heavy traffic and your car doesn’t have the Start/Stop feature, use the handbrake and shift to neutral. 

Another way to use fuel better is to avoid stepping on the accelerator too far down. If you are driving on high gear and pressing hard on the accelerator to speed up and you want to avoid slowing down and shifting to lower gears, your car is using more fuel.

  1. What car gets the best mileage?

Edmunds went as far as saying automatic vehicles get better mileage these days. For a sweeter deal on fuel economy, hybrids are the way to go. The combination of electric motors and gasoline-powered motor perform better than the traditional combustion and manual transmission. A regular car like a Honda Civic has a 36 miles-per-gallon (MPG) while a hybrid like Prius is at 56 MPG. Hybrids are the pinnacle of fuel efficiency, but they cost a lot more than manual and transmission cars as well. 

  1. Wrapping Up

In summary, with fuel efficiency, the type of car transmission should no longer be the top factor to be considered. Saving on fuel is mostly dependent on keeping the car in good condition and being aware of the little habits that we unknowingly do that burns more fuel than necessary. 

If you want to be fully engaged with the car when driving and to save a bit more on your car purchase, a manual transmission is a way to go. If you prefer a more relaxed driving style and a wider option of car models to choose from, an automatic transmission car is a better option. For the most fuel-efficient car but might also cost a little bit more, go for the hybrids. 


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