The dying art of driving a stick shift

- Can you drive a stick shift? Once, learning to drive a manual transmission was a rite of passage. Now, it’s a dying art.

According to U.S. News and World Report, only 18 percent of American drivers know how to operate a stick shift, and only five percent of cars sold in the U.S. come with a manual transmission. It’s been a long and slow decline. We were at “peak” stick shift in the 1980s when about 35% of vehicles in the U.S. were produced with manual transmissions.

They were once the winner when it came to cost, fuel economy, and durability, but advances in cars with automatic transmission have left those benefits in the dust.

Is there any chance of saving the stick? Car enthusiasts will tell you there’s still no comparison -- you use all four limbs to operate the vehicle and control every gear change, which makes for a more thrilling and powerful trip.

Car and Driver magazine even started the hashtag “Save the Manual” but it hasn’t really caught on, probably because today’s drivers are more likely to tweet something like hashtag “Driverless Car.” We need our hands free to text and Snapchat.

For drivers who just can’t let it go, U.S. News and World Report also released a list of the best manual transmission vehicles available.

Owning a car that most of the population can’t drive is its own anti-theft system -- but no one wants to steal a typewriter or a landline telephone, either. 

Up Next:


Up Next

  • The dying art of driving a stick shift
  • Meet the 94-year-old who built a pool for his whole neighborhood
  • Nonprofit brings video game therapy to sick kids
  • Through kind visit, Vietnam vet with dementia accepts end to Vietnam
  • Mom shares her daughter's death from opioids as a warning for others
  • Technology brings together international Little Leaguers
  • U.S. Marine returns flag of dead Japanese soldier to remaining family
  • Eclipses of the past were calamitous, not celebratory
  • ‘Dream Big Princess' campaign empowering girls
  • Instead of giving ticket, officer helps fix broken tail light