The Lost Art of Driving a Stick
When I learned to drive, I started with my mom's 1970 Volkswagon Beetle. It was a 70 horsepower, four cylinder, four speed great way to start. Learning when to shift, learning how to start when on a hill, there's something about the art of it all that I love.
For those who don't know, there are some vehicles that use a third petal to left of the brake called a clutch. You would have to press it with your left foot and move a "stick" in the floor from one gear to the other to accelerate.
My apologies to those who know how to drive a stick, I just know there are some reading this that have never even seen one except in the Fast and Furious movies. And those even frustrate me because it looks like the drivers are shifting through 20 gears.
My current vehicle is a manual and I've always had a blast navigating traffic using a stick. Now I'm in the market for a new car. Problem is, it's next to impossible to find one with a manual transmission.
I found an article from U.S. News and World Report from 2016 discussing this very issue. And the short answer to why it's so hard to find a car with a manual transmission is the technological advances of automatics.
It used to be that manual transmissions offered better acceleration and better gas mileage, now automatic transmissions have caught up to that. They offer more gears, some with now up to ten, for not only quicker acceleration but better fuel economy.
The report stated that only about 5% of new cars have a manual transmission. That 5% is basically your sports cars. But even many of those are moving to automatics.
I love driving a manual transmission, always will. I am saddened that it's not as common as what it used to be. There's a fun to it, there's an art to it, there's a uniqueness to it that makes driving a whole new experience.
There's also the confidence that it's less likely to get stolen because no one would know how to drive it.