Who knew choosing a manual transmission could still give you better gas mileage?

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray gets decent EPA gas mileage ratings for a V-8 sports car--but only if you do the shifting yourself.

With the seven-speed manual transmission, the Stingray is rated at 21 mpg combined (17 mpg city, 29 mpg highway).

in general, modern automatic transmissions with six or more gears now deliver better fuel efficiency than manual gearboxes.

However, Stingrays equipped with the six-speed automatic lose 1 mpg in each category compared to the manual, reducing the total to 20 mpg combined (16 mpg city, 28 mpg highway).

Much of the mileage improvement is thanks to a redesigned 6.2-liter V-8, with new-to-Corvette technologies like direct injection and cylinder deactivation.

Reports of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission patented by GM could also point to a third gear-shifting option for the car.

Such a transmission shifts much faster than a manual or an automatic--making it ideal for a performance car like the Corvette--but it may also deliver better fuel economy.

For now, the Stingray's mileage performance compares favorably with other sports cars.

The 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S gets 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway) with either a seven-speed manual or PDK dual-clutch transmission, but it has a much smaller 3.8-liter flat six.

The 8.4-liter V-10 2014 SRT Viper returns only 15 mpg combined (12 mpg city, 19 mpg highway).

Gas mileage isn't the primary concern of most sports car buyers, but it's nice to know that even the highest-performance cars are getting somewhat better fuel efficiency than they used to.

Ten years ago, a 2004 Corvette with a six-speed manual gearbox was rated at 20 mpg (17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway) and wasn't nearly as fast as the 2014 Stingray.

One thing hasn't changed, though: Corvette owners are still recommended to use premium gasoline.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.