30 Ways to Save: Shift to Manual

September 2, 2008 7:13:19 PM PDT
Prices at the pump may have started to come down, but people are still looking for any way they can to save on gas. Driving a stick shift could be one option. People that drive a stick shift can be pretty enthusiastic about their car. Take Jehan Denoue: "I love the power. I love the feel. I love the control."

Consumer Reports says not only are they fun to drive, but a stick shift can save you gas and money. David Champion of Consumer Reports: "If you're not doing a lot of city use, then it makes a very good alternative, gets better gas mileage, and it's cheaper overall."

To see how much cheaper, Consumer Reports pitted manuals against automatic versions of seven different vehicles ¯ including the Subaru Forrester and Honda Accord.

Testers found in every matchup the manual vehicles cut fuel use by at least ten percent. For example ?the automatic Subaru Forrester gets an overall 22 miles per gallon. The manual version - 24 miles per gallon. The Mini Cooper automatic gets 29 miles per gallon. The manual - 33. And the biggest savings - the Scion XD. The automatic gets 29 miles per gallon while the manual gets a whopping 34.

Consumer Reports says be aware, there are some drawbacks with manuals. Manufacturers don't offer a manual in every model. And manuals have been far less popular than automatics in recent years. But with the gas crunch, that could change.

And hills can pose a challenge. And they can be tedious in stop-and-go traffic.

Nevertheless, pick the right one and a manual can add up to real savings. Consumer Reports says one like the Honda Accord delivers a smooth shift, making it much easier to drive and a lot more fun.

Despite a manual's advantage, you can sometimes do better by buying a different model altogether. For example, at 32 miles per gallon, an automatic Toyota Corolla still beats a manual focus, at 29 miles per gallon.



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