A bit of a tangent...but a window into a lawyer's mind (look away now, that's your final warning).
Some state laws (not all states by a long shot) talk about an "automatic" transmission being required for legality. An automatic transmission does not require a person to shift gears, right? So an automatic transmission could be defined as a transmission that does not require gears to be shifted manually. To me, the emphasis is on "require". The fact that you may have more than one gear available does not mean you are "required" to shift gears. Only if you have to shift gears to use it, is manual shifting "required". If you could leave it in one gear and use it, shifting is not required and its automatic.
Now, for a test case.....and sorry, I have a reputation to uphold...let me know how this argument works out.
...and as for the new fuel standards- the concept of fuel economy standards is sound, but CAFE fleet averages as the measurement impinges too greatly upon the freedom of both the vehicle buyer and seller. There are better options...but while those options save as much or more fuel, they do not provide the control over the fleet that CAFE does. Therefore, they are not as desireable for the rule makers.