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Posted On: 5/16/2012 8:56AM

Not everyone is happy about the apparent resergence in the manual transmission's popularity. David Sirota, normally a pretty intelligent writer, is concerned about the "ethics" of transmission choice, an inquiry which seems to revolve around the perceived harm to the environment caused by tiny increases in fuel consumption in "some" new manual-equipped vehicles when compared to their automatic-equipped counterparts. Wait... what? We're talking about 6.75% of all new vehicles sold this year. And out of that, a smaller proportion whose automatic transmission is sophisticated enough to squeeze out a tiny theoretical advantage in fuel efficiency, usually limited to 1 or 2 additional mpg's. And bearing in mind that the bulk of manual-transmission vehicles sold are little four-bangers anyway with MPG ratings in the thirties. So, this guy is actually making this argument? See for yourself. Unless I'm missing something, he's actually saying that choosing a manual is an ethical conundrum. Unlike, for example, buying a belching diesel pickup. Or reproducing. Or getting on a plane a half-dozen times a year. Or buying a new car, period, with all the resource consumption, pollution and waste that its manufacture will necessarily entail. Nope, the thing that will bring on the environmental apocalyse is your little $13K crapbox Mazda 2, that you just had to get with the 5-speed, now didn't you??

If the rhetorical purpose of this article is to remind the consume-yourself-green crowd to check the MPG ratings before mindlessly opting for the manual on their new vehicle, then fine. But to malign an entire transmission category usually belonging to an already low-emitting vehicle based on the idea that its theoretical efficiency is sometimes eclipsed by a computer-laden automatic? That just seems like lazy thinking. Read the article here and decide for yourself.



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