Personally I think it is actually smoother pulling a tanker, especially a non baffled tank, with a genuine shifter. I always timed my shifts with the surge, if a guy doesn't he will eventually have tranny problems, at least in the mountains. I have no complaints with my one truck with an auto shift, but I have to really work at it for it to shift as smooth as I can, now it will shift quick when it needs to.
the one thing I hate on the auto shifter tried in several company trucks is that when it gets up in rpm it jumps up a gear yet the rpm it jumps is very very low so low it would halt if I didn't take over. Most time I have to have it set to manual before the hill because it's acting dumb irritates me.
I honestly never put a lot of miles on mine myself, and mostly kept in manual mode and just shifted it myself when I did drive it, especially in mountains or on snow or ice. I did have a driver on it pulling rm double tankers in the hills, one tanker baffled and one not. It literally shelled a tranny on a hill, busted several gears a month or so into the job. He was a good driver and usually drove a manual, but I think the thing shifting when it wanted to instead of with the surge is what got it, it could have just been just time to explode though too. lol
I see your point, but then I have to think you will never get good at shifting and there might come a time when you need to. Maybe not, I just can't fathom a license with an auto only restriction. I never even heard of such a thing until I started reading this forum. I still get my land line mags, but haven read one for several years.
There are exactly no auto trucks that I know of, OO or company running north out of here. Several companies have tried them, but even with factory reps never really made them work. A guy that is not very good at handling a standard, would be a danger to himself and others on the haul road to say the least.
There is probably a few town trucks that are auto, and I know of at least 2 here that guys brought up and run dirt with, I would imagine there is probably more down Los Anchorage way, but I don't know for sure.
One of the loggers I haul for has to use his own trucks on a remote job down on the coast, it is all flat ground and easy loads, but he bought 3 new autos for that job. It is all off road, and this way even the cook can drive, no license needed.