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I think the reason for the discrepancy between the auto and manual is the final drive ratio is different.

Mine's a manual with about 23k miles on it now. I prefer manual transmissions, but also wanted to maximize fuel economy as I have a long commute. See fuelly details in sig for fuel economy history.

My commute is over 100 miles per day. Most of the roads are rural highway with speed limits ranging from 55 to 70 MPH. There are a few stoplights and 4 or 5 significant grades. Where I live, almost everything I do involves a lot of time on rural highways. One might point out that my numbers benefit from an easy, all-highway commute, but I'm still beating the EPA estimate by 3 or 4 MPG and some individual tanks are better than 10% over the EPA highway estimate.

I'm very happy with the fuel economy. The car is comfortable and fun to drive. I would have paid up for the options available on the auto models, but more than anything I needed the long legs of a diesel and a manual transmission is more important to me than a sunroof.
 
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