I’ve been shocked by the rapid disappearance of the manual transmission — even supercars are mostly automatic these days. Automobile Magazine’s Lawrence Ulrich went in search of a manual new model Ferrari, and had to go clear across the country to Washington state to find one.
“In 1980,” Ulrich reports, “one in three new cars in America had a manual transmission. Today it’s fewer than one in 10. In the Porsche 911 — the 911! — the PDK automatic outsells the manual 4 to 1.” Shocking, isn’t it? Do you know anybody who can handle a stick?
This guy actually found the right place to put the gas! (Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr)
And this is hardly the only area in which we’re deficient. According to British car leasing company Flexed, less than half of all motorists (49 percent) know how to change a tire, and 63 percent — a significant majority! — couldn't check the oil if their life depended on it. C’mon, you pull out a dipstick!
Here's at least one citizen who cares about her tire pressure! (Photo: Elizabeth/flickr)
It doesn’t get better:
- 31 percent don’t know how to check tire pressure
- 29 percent are unable to fill the windshield wiper fluid bottle
- 58 percent don’t know how to add oil (if they somehow managed to find the dipstick)
- 1 percent don’t know to refuel the car
That stick is intimidating to 95 percent of the population. This is an Audi A5's six-speed manual transmission. (Photo: Maria Parma/flickr)
Sad to say, British tests are more rigorous than American. Ignorance about the hole for the gas wouldn’t disqualify a U.S. citizen from getting a license.
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