auto

6 busted fuel-economy myths to save on gas

Manual transmissions are better for saving gas
Manual transmissions are better for saving gas © AlexussK/Shutterstock.com

Myth: Manual transmissions are always superior to automatic transmissions when it comes to gas mileage.

"This has been true in the past, largely because automatics with five speeds were rare birds, indeed," says Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing for Edmunds.com.

But manuals are no longer the definite rulers of fuel economy. "The gap has narrowed to the point where it's often a toss-up, and the manual and automatic (Environmental Protection Agency) ratings are the same," Edmunds says.

A lot of that has to do with advancements in automatic-transmission technology. For instance, automatic transmissions now have more gears. That cuts down on wasted fuel, Edmunds says.

And new classes of automatics -- automatic manual transmissions, or AMTs -- combine the best features of manuals and automatics, resulting in a potential 7 percent fuel-efficiency improvement, according to FuelEconomy.gov.

Edmunds says that AMTs bridge the gap between automatics and manuals.

How to save: Reign in your driving habits, and be smoother in your driving, Edmunds says. But also, keep convenience in mind. "You're going to be driving this car for several years. Buy what you'll be happy with," Edmunds says.

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