Originally Posted by COchief
Also to the dumbasses that engine brake: You are burning a shitload of gas by keeping your RPMs up that high instead of idle and last time I checked brakes were about a hundred bucks. Why the hell would you wear out your engine/tranny over a part that costs a hundred bucks and if we are talking years of ownership, hundreds in gas. Simply stupid.
In a modern car, when you coast in gear (like to slow down or go down a hill), the ecu cuts out the fuel and the engine is driven only by the wheels (down to about 20 mph or so). I agree that it's harmful to slam the tranny down several gears to slow down in the hurry, but done right, it's a big gas savings.
I always try to slow down when I can by just letting off the gas and coasting down in gear. If I need to slow a little quicker, I might drop it a gear. Yeah, it bumps up the rpm's a little because of the lower gearing but you aren't using more gas. Coasting in neutral or with the clutch in saves fuel but is still uses some to maintain the idle plus you don't have the engine braking to maintain speed down a hill (I refuse to risk a speeding ticket in the name of mpg).
Also, you mention people that take forever to get to 50. People that do that are stupid. Any time you accelerate, your gas mileage sucks, so it makes sense to get up to an even speed as quickly as possible (within reason) to minimize the distance accelerating and maximize the distance driving at constant, even speed. About 60 - 70% throttle is the best trade-off.
For myself, I much prefer a manual. If you know what you are doing, it's much easier to manipulate the gas mileage with a manual over an automatic. I also like that you can engine brake down the steep mountain roads I drive sometimes rather than riding the brake all the way down. I also prefer to drive in snow with a manual. If I lived in a city, though, I would probably stick with an auto.
EDIT: DJ's Left Nut is a much faster typist than I.