Originally Posted by CoMoChief
manual ....saves on gas and doesn't wear on your brakes as much (if you downshift).
it's more fun to drive too. sucks though if you're trying to eat and drive around town like on the way to work or something.
This is wrong.
Manual transmissions don't actually do much (if anything) to save on gas anymore. In fact, very few people are good enough with their shift points to keep them from getting worse MPG. Either they shift too late and run the RPMs up or they shift too early and dog the motor. Either way, they're not as precise as the manual that's been computer engineered to shift at the exact right time depending on your acceleration and power needs.
Manual transmissions tend to be on shitty econoboxes that get good gas mileage, but an automatic tranmission with overdrive will easily get just as good MPG unless the motor is so underpowered that it has to downshift to stay at speed.
With engine technology allowing people to get decent power even from fuel sippers, and with computer adjustable shift points on modern automatics, there is next to no distinction between automatic and manual transmissions in terms of MPG.
That argument for manuals is dead and has been for a decade+.
As to the brakes arguments - brake pads cost $60 and over the life of your car, if you were to downshift at every single point coming up to every single stop light you might save yourself the cost of one set of brake pads. However, by using engine compression to slow your car as you downshift, you're adding wear to the seals, etc... in your motor and thus making your motor less efficient over time.
Is a manual more fun? Yeah, when you want it to be. The easy compromise situation is an auto-stick transmission paired to a flappy paddle gear shift on your steering wheel. When I want to do nothing but go home, it stays in auto. When I want to run the shit out of it, I knock the knob to the left and shift on the steering wheel.
Done and done.