Responding to growing concerns over global warming, General Motors (GM) announced today that it would make all of its vehicles with standard transmissions, starting in 2009. Manual transmissions generally get better fuel mileage than automatics.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner described the initiative at a press conference at the company headquarters in Detroit: "We've been coddling our lazy fellow Americans for too long. It's time everyone started using their left foot. This is what Jesus would do."
Wagoner said that manual transmissions typically get 2-3 mpg better mileage than the same vehicle equipped with an automatic, and that in some cases the difference can be as much as 5 mpg. GM plans to focus on high-efficiency manuals to minimize the company's output of greenhouse gases. Manuals are also generally considered more fun to drive and less expensive to manufacture and maintain.
The GM announcement received a mixed reaction. The late Jerry Falwell rose from his grave to insist that Jesus would have driven a large van with an automatic, because he would need to carry so many of his followers. Other religious leaders hailed the effort to reduce global warming.
On the environmental side, NRDC President Frances Beineke applauded the move and encouraged other auto manufacturers to follow suit. Al Gore, however, was reportedly upset because he invented the automatic transmission shortly before inventing the internet.