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STERLING HEIGHTS -- Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it plans to double the number of six-speed automatic transmissions in its models by the end of next year, increasing fuel efficiency to the point where it's equal to or better than manual gearboxes.

The company also said that 98 percent of its North American transmissions will be six speeds by the end of 2012 as it moves to meet increasing government fuel economy standards.

The computer-controlled transmissions, built at a revamped factory in Sterling Heights, give drivers a 4 percent to 6 percent gas mileage boost compared with the four- and five-speed models now in widespread use in Ford's front-wheel-drive vehicles.

LINK:Ford will double 6-speeds to raise fuel efficiency

MY Wife's Ford Explorer with a 6 speed auto did get 20 MPG average on a 5K vacation last year, now I wish my Nitro R/T had a six speed auto instead of a five!
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