It’s been said that approximately ten percent of the new cars sold in America today are equipped with manual transmissions, with the numbers slipping dramatically over the years. Have Americans become too lazy to shift gears for themselves?

Enter the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze ECO.

The Cruze ECO uses a tiny turbocharged 1.4-liter four cylinder engine and advanced aerodynamics to achieve superb fuel-efficiency. The difference in mileage ratings between the manual transmission-equipped Cruze ECO and the automatic are dramatic.

When equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the new Chevy Cruze ECO is rated at 28 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and 42 MPG on the highway. The MPG numbers drop dramatically to 26 city / 37 highway in the automatic-equipped Cruze ECO.

Gearing makes all the difference.

Tensions in the Middle East are only likely to push gas prices higher. With gasoline prices flirting with the $4 per gallon mark in some parts of the country, will the huge boost in the manual Cruze ECO’s fuel-efficiency convince folks to put aside their lazy automatic ways? Or have we simply become too complacent?

Resource: 2011 Chevy Cruze ECO Review