There are various reasons (and theories) to explain this difference in preferences. Let’s discover the advantages of the automatic transmission, so loved by Americans.
EASE OF DRIVING
Generally speaking, Americans prefer things that are affordable and easy to use. Driving is no different. In fact, it is easier to learn to drive a car with an automatic transmission. Also, when shifting gears while driving, the risk of accidents due to careless driving increases.
It is also a matter of tradition: in most places in the United States, driving is the only form of transportation available. From the late 1980s onwards, automatic transmissions became more popular in the United States. Even today most Americans, aside from car enthusiasts, want to choose an automatic car. In Europe, learning to drive in a manual transmission vehicle is more common, and the tradition continues.
Fuel efficiency is a major concern in Italy and in Europe in general. This is partly due to environmental reasons, but also because people in European countries on average pay twice (or more) for regular gasoline on average than people in the United States. For example, as of April 16, 2018, the average price in the United States for a gallon of gas was $ 2.99. In Germany, a gallon costs an average of $ 6.43, while in Norway, subjects pay an average of $ 7.82. In fact, the United States has the lowest price per gallon in the world. The cheapest? Venezuela, at 3 cents a gallon!
For the past five years or so, many vehicles’ automatic transmission models have the same or better miles per gallon than their manual counterparts. This means that cars with automatic transmissions are increasingly in demand, including in Europe.
Wide accessibility is undoubtedly one of the advantages of automatic transmission in America.
When you’re paying more than double Americans for gas, driving a smaller, more fuel-efficient car in Europe makes sense. Hence, buying an automatic car is often more expensive in Europe because it is less popular and has more parts that may need repair. On the flip side, buying an automatic or manual transmission car costs the same in the US. Furthermore, the younger generation of Americans rarely learn how to drive in a manual transmission car. For them, there is really no economic reason to do this as automatic systems are much more available in the market.
DRIVING IS A JOB
For many Americans, and perhaps even some Europeans, driving is not a pleasure. As New Yorkers rely on the subway and bus system, most Americans rely on their cars as their only means of transportation. If you live in a metropolitan area where getting stuck in traffic is a given and constantly changing gears is annoying. If you live in a city or town, if you take short trips with several stops along the way, automatic cars are easier to use with frequent use. On longer journeys, people take advantage of cruise control in automatic vehicles.
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