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In wireless sensor networks, data transmission is an essential step for various applications, and an energy efficient data transmission mechanism is needed since the energy resource of WSN is restricted. This paper investigates the coalition-based cooperative data transmission mechanism (CC-DTM), analyzes its entire energy consumption, and finds out the optimal number of sensor nodes needed in the cooperative data transmission. The condition under which CC-DTM is more energy-saving than the cluster approach is also deduced. Furthermore, an energy-load balanced node selection strategy is proposed. The results of simulation experiment show the validity of this energy efficient data transmission mechanism.