When shopping for a new or used vehicle, you can't ignore gas mileage. A recent study found that the average U.S. household now spends over $5,000 at the pump each year. Some U.S. households, of course, spend even more money to fill up their vehicles. While all vehicles with an internal combustion engine (ICE) require gas, some of them get better gas mileage than others. The transmission type, in fact, may affect a vehicle's gas mileage.
Manual Transmissions and Gears
In the past, manual transmissions did, in fact, get better gas mileage than automatic transmissions. This is because manual transmissions had more gears. Most manual transmissions had four or five gears, whereas automatic transmissions had three gears.
All transmissions have gears. The number of gears in them, though, can affect their gas mileage. It allows for better ratios, which manifests in the form of better gas mileage. Until the 1970s, most manual transmissions had more gears than automatic transmissions, resulting in better gas mileage.
Manual Transmissions and Weight
Manual transmissions also weigh less than automatic transmissions. There are many different types of manual transmissions, but most of them are lighter than their automatic counterparts.
Even today, manual transmissions weigh less than automatic transmissions. It's not a substantial difference. Rather, a typical manual transmission weighs a few pounds less than an automatic transmission of the same size. But the lighter weight makes manual transmissions slightly more efficient.
There Gas Mileage Difference Is Negligible
If you buy a modern vehicle that was manufactured within the past few decades, you probably won't notice any difference in gas mileage between a manual and automatic transmission. Both types of transmissions now have the same or similar number of gears. And beginning in the 1970s, automakers began using lock-up torque converters to improve the gas mileage of automatic transmissions.
Manual transmissions still weigh less than automatic transmissions. With their lighter weight, they aren't as taxing on engines. But that doesn't mean an automatic transmission will save you money at the pump. The gas mileage difference between automatic and manual transmissions is negligible at best.
You shouldn't ignore the transmission type when shopping for a new or used vehicle. Some drivers prefer automatic transmissions, whereas others prefer manual transmissions. The transmission type will affect your driving habits, but it will have little or no impact on your vehicle's gas mileage.