Why Do Americans Prefer Automatic Transmissions, While Most of Europe Prefers Stick Shift?


Burning out the clutch and stalling as you roll back on a hill used to be part of learning how to drive in America, but these days fewer and fewer people are driving cars with stick shifts. In fact, 96% of Americans drive automatics, and only 2% of all cars sold in the United States have a manual transmission. Contrast that with Europe, where almost everyone learns to drive a stick shift and 80% of car owners have a manual transmission. The reason Americans choose automatics is because they’re more likely to be doing several things at once when they’re driving. They eat and multitask, all while behind the wheel. Europeans believe that driving a car with a manual transmission forces people to be more engaged with their car and what’s going on around them. It’s rare to see a European on the phone while driving. It just doesn't happen. Another reason Europeans prefer a manual transmission is because they use less fuel, an important consideration when a gallon of gas averages $7.82. Most carmakers in the United States have stopped making cars with manual transmissions, and pricing doesn’t really seem to factor in much with that decision.