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Who drives stick?

A couple of questions about driving in the US. Do people generally learn on an auto? Do most people drive auto.

Here in the UK most people learn on a stick and drive a stick.

Here in the U.S. most people learn on an automatic and most people drive automatics. Our driving schools, required in some states for young people to get a liscense and usble in many cases for insurance discounts, all use automatics, so that’s what people learn on.

Many people including all the members of my own family then learn how to drive a stick from either their friends, their dads (I taught my kids), or in additional training they get for commercial liscensing. I myself drove sticks for decades, but I now have medical issues that make an automatic a better choice.

I learned how to drive with a stick back in 1982. Dad insisted. Had all of us kids learn to drive with a stick. I have had automatics, but prefer a stick. Before I got married, I taught my wife how to drive a stick. She prefers them now, too.

I greatly prefer a stick on smaller cars with weaker engines, but automatics are much better in trucks and suv’s. I would estimate that only about 10-20% of people in the US even know how to drive stick.

Most cars here are automatics and most people prefer it this way so they can talk on the phone and cram burgers in their mouths while driving.

Don’t know the statistics, but I’m sure someone can provide them.

My guess is that about 90% of the cars, mini vans, and SUVs in USA are automatic trans. So, yes most cars are automatics by a huge margin.

Another guess is that only about 20% of drivers have spent any time driving a stick. In fact, the number could be much lower, perhaps 10%. So, yes again most USA drivers learn on an auto and very few ever learn how to drive a stick shift car.

I learned on an automatic and then learned to drive stick. Did the same for my kids. When we owned smaller cars, we all drove stick. My wife had to learn stick because her family only had cars with stick for many years, even the full sized station wagons. In Europe, I prefer stick except in UK, where I pay extra to rent an automatic. Driving on the “wrong side” of the road adds more distraction to my concentration.

"Here in the UK most people learn on a stick and drive a stick. "

If I lived on an island, paid a million dollars a gallon for gas, drove less than 5k miles a year in my car and had a superior English accent, I’d drive a manual too and look down upon the lowly auto minded colonist.

According to some old timers I knew when I was learning to drive a gearshift car, the stick shift was for wimps. If you really were a driver, you knew how to drive the Ford Model T. The Model T had three pedals on the floor. The right pedal was the brake. The left pedal was the transmission–All the way down was low and all the way out was high. The middle pedal was reverse. The left most pedal was pressed halfway down which put the transmission in neutral. One then stepped down on the reverse pedal to go backward.
Not only did one do some fancy footwork to drive a Model T, but one had to set the spark advance. There was no centrifugal spark advance or vacuum advance on the distributor. The throttle control was also on the steering wheel. Real drivers didn’t have the optional electric starter on their Model Ts. Not being able to hand crank the engine was the sign of a wimp. These old timers told me that I wasn’t learning to drivea real car when I was growing up–didn’t have to crank the engine and the gearshift was even on the steering column where I didn’t have to reach for it.

Yes, except for some sports car owners and younger drivers, almost everyone drives automatic.

My wife won a Mini in a lottery, and promptly sold it beacause she did not really want to learn to drive an automatic.

yes, most drive automatics in fact it is not at all easy to find a car with a manual transmission if you would search through any parking lot.

I also learned on an automatic using my Dad’s car and also during driver training class in high school but later learned how to use a manual transmission with a friend’s car. I saw how the automatic transmissions on my dad’s car failed early and cost plenty of his scarce money to replace so I always buy a manual transmission when it is available. I’ll admit to one of our three cars having an automatic.

Automatics cost more to buy with a new car, generally cause poorer gas mileage, fail earlier, and need more maintenance. I can replace a clutch disk at home but don’t care to get into automatic transmission repair. The clutch and shifting operations of manuals have been polished in recent years so that they are a pleasure to use.

People who say that they need an automatic for city driving are just looking for a means to justify that choice. I drive a lot in a large city and have no problem with a manual trans.

One of my first actual “let’s go teach you the stick” lessons happened when I was 15 1/2,just got my learners permit (do they even still do that in CA.?) and it was a friends 68 383 Road Runner I recieved the lesson in. Things went real well in the H.S. parking lot but then the trip home. Local law enforcement pulled behind me and I stalled it a few times but I finaly managed to lay rubber through the rest of the intersection,then got pulled over.I told the cop I was learning stick,His reply, that’s obvious.

What is there to learning to drive an automatic? just put it in “D”.

Sorry, the Mini had a stick and she did not want to learn to drive a 4 speed floor shift!

Yes. I’ve gotten use to driving an auto in town and towing, just like I’ve gotten use to air conditioning, the safety of power door locks, power lumbar support for long trips. I don’t feel I have to justify anything. There are many cars now that can’t be had with manual windows and manual transmissions; If I want to do those things, I get the auto cause often I have no choice. The last time I’ve had an auto repaired, never.
If yours are failing early, you are not doing the required maintenance or buy the wrong cars.

I learned to drive a stick shift in high school living in Florida. It was a friend’s late 1960’s Ford Anglia. Great car. All my cars in 40 years of driving have been manual transmissions.


3 automatics in my driveway…


Here at the Ford dealer We have to be ready for all comers.
F150-250-350-450-&550 trucks
And all other brands who come through the door.

In my little corner of the world the vast majority of women cannot drive a manual and most men younger than 30 cannot. At a car lot a manual transmission is rare and found almost exclusively on stripped down smaller work trucks and the heavy duty diesels and a few of the cheaper sport model coupes.

The fuel mileage thing is becoming more a myth now than truth.
Mazda 3 sedan with 5 speed stick is rated 25/33, the 5 speed auto is rated 24/33. The 6 6 speed stick is rated 21/30, the 5 speed auto is rated 22/31. Honda Civic DX 5 speed stick is rated 26/34, the 5 speed auto is rated 25/36, Accord 5 speed stick 23/33, auto 23/34.

need i go on?

bscar: Mfrs are free to submit fuel mileage numbers less than what is possible to the EPA. The mileage numbers are not all verified but are subject to spot checking. Until I can be disproven, I suspect that some mfrs submit higher numbers for automatics so car buyers will buy more of them as automatics are more profitable. It’s smart marketing people at work. One of our cars is a Chevrolet Cobalt XFE, set up for maximum fuel mileage, 37 mpg highway. It has a manual transmission.

dagosa: We have owned only a few automatics and those were traded before 100,000 miles so we have avoided an automatic trans failure.

I am in a minority in the US, I suppose. I am 25 years old, given the choice will take a manual transmission any day, and learned to drive with a manual transmission. My father started letting me drive his five speed Cavalier when I turned 15, even before I had my learner’s permit or had even started driver’s education. My driver’s ed car provided by the high school I attended was a 2001 Buick Century, which of course had an automatic transmission. All that wheel time in my dad’s Cavalier did end up causing problems with the driving instructor at school, though. I don’t know how many times he had to tell me to keep both hands on the wheel, and my excuse that I’m too used to driving a stick did not fly too well with him. Neither did my suggestion that the school get something with a manual transmission so everyone can learn stick.