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Historically, manual transmissions delivered better fuel economy than automatic transmissions. However, beginning with model year 2016, improvements in the efficiency of automatic transmissions have reversed that trend. Automatic transmissions have added gears more quickly than their manual counterparts. The increased number of gears, along with other design improvements, have contributed to the improved fuel economy of vehicles fitted with automatic transmissions.

Fuel economy for vehicles which have both manual and automatic  transmission options, model yearls 1980 to 2018

Note: Fuel economy average is the production-weighted harmonic mean. Data for 2018 are based on preliminary production data.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The 2018 EPA Automotive Trends Report: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Fuel Economy, and Technology since 1975, EPA-420-R-19-002, March 2019.

Fact #1127 Dataset

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