Just don't answer. The question is neither relevant, nor is it even the crux of the column. Get past the clicky smelling headline, and what you have here is a combination of two news stories, one new and one old, both of which you've likely already come across.

We're going to play nice here and not knock over Salon columnist David Sirota's house of cards, because this is a good read and he's a talented writer – even if, off the top of our heads, we can name several popular vehicles that offer a fuel economy benefit to those willing to row their own, from the Volkswagen Jetta to the Chevrolet Sonic to the BMW 3 Series. But the guy does have a point that's probably of great benefit to many Salon readers: If a smug sense of superiority is what you're after, opting for a manual transmission is no longer a sure bet. (Locally sourced organic produce and craft beer, for the win!)

In the end, Sirota is smart enough to come to two conclusions that most of us would agree to. The first being that driving a manual is fun, and the second, that it's hard to text while steering, operating all three pedals, and working that stick.

On second thought, maybe you should answer with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. See below for our completely unscientific poll.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      JakeY
      • 2 Years Ago
      Might as well ask if it's unethical to drive a non-stick just for the convenience of not having to row your own gears and deal with a third pedal.
      mustsvt
      • 2 Years Ago
      The average Salon readers interaction with a car is most likely a taxi cab or Livery Town Car. I would bet less than 1% of any regular readers of Salon could even drive a stick.
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      The concept that transmission are ethical or otherwise is a little bizarre. If your ideology is based on such trivia, you are in a pretty sad way. But, some readers contend that driving a stick shift is 'safer' because they are more in control of the vehicle. I wonder how they justify that position since the very act of changing gears requires the removal of one hand from the steering wheel, disengaging the clutch, and re-engaging. A short but potentially dangerous manoeuvre. I think it's just the macho, illusion of skill and power over the vehicle that provides the basis for this belief, rather than reality. But as Ele Truk so eloquently states, 'who cares" !
      Jim T.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Loved my 5-speed manual (back when automatics were 3 speed, only with 'overdrive' if you paid more) However, I bought that car specifically to learn how to drive a manual, and soon found shifting a 'regular' car (not a sports-car) becomes tedious in city driving. Few I know in my generation can drive stick. I'll likely never buy a manual again.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jim T.
        See, i don't get that.. i don't find driving a manual tedious even in LA traffic, learned how to do it in 2005, and never looked back. What you need is a car with a longer than usual 1st gear. One that you can troll along, letting the idle propel you forward. What i hate about an automatic in said traffic is that you end up riding your brakes the whole time, and some poorly set up autos will keep shifting about.. really annoying.
      EJ
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not unethical, but once you drive an electric drive-train you realize that even the finest ICE drive-train is fundamentally flawed. Besides, the allure of a 7 speed manual in what you thought was a fast car will fade pretty quickly when you keep getting smoked by some 20 year old in her EV, too busy talking with her friends to even notice you trying to keep up...
        Firefly
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EJ
        ...and then you pass her after her head on collision from talking and not paying attention to the road...
        DarylMc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EJ
        I've driven all sorts of manual and auto vehicles over the last 25 years but I think that as far as gearboxes are concerned DSG or twin clutch gearboxes are super cool. Though I imagine buying a vehicle with DSG might be a bit like dating a supermodel, risky but hard to knock back if you had the means and opportunity. If a single speed EV transmission can do the job, then I agree the fanciest DSG or CVT just looks like a ridiculous idea. It's one of the reasons why I look forward to driving an EV one day.
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      You can have my manual when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers! :-) Seriously, I always get ~20% above a cars MPG rating because I know how to drive a stick...and I love them.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Was it ethical to drive slushboxes until locking automatic transmissions were invented?
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Being a dim witted right wing Neanderthal has its advantages. When I bought my Belovef Ranger, I thought about reliability, Ford with transmissions, and bought the stick. And of course, back then manuals got better mileage anyway. But even so, the other thoughts didn't enter my mind. This isn't an indictment of all on the left (we look at people as individuals and not groups), but do you often think this way? 'I would buy that Starbucks Latte, but, is it grown in a sustainable fashion, with a fair wage being offered to the pickets in guatemala? ' I am not picking on you if you do, because in some ways, the world would be a better place. At the same time, I would imagine that your lives must be overly complicated. Now in defense of all of YOU...you all seemed to find this as silly as I....I do enjoy learning about how others think, however....
        Yespage
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        "do you often think this way" Followed by: "you all seemed to find this as silly as I" Odd, because you seem to admit at the end that liberals find humor in the "ethical" question that the article raises, yet seem to aim your guns and attack the strawman regardless.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Yespage
          My point is that there is a disconnect between what I read in a lot of these articles, and the people who posted here. I didn't want anyone here to think I was lumping them in with the author, or others that sit back and have to ponder the ethics of drinking a cup of coffee. I guess I am curious as to if the people posting here are sensible and that the author is an aberration, or if the sensible people here are the aberration....?
      Ugo Sugo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't know where you get your data from but manual transmission is usually more efficient then automatic, unless maybe, you have a fancy and expensive double clutch auto. Or maybe, your stick standard is a 4 speed one? So bottom line the question is wrong. I choose a manual transmission because it gives a better mileage and I can have a better control of the car
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ugo Sugo
        Used to be that way... check out ABG's Greelings article about modern automatic transmissions. The paradigm has shifted :)
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Slow news day, huh?
      niky
      • 2 Years Ago
      Flawed. Based on the false premise that autos are inherently more efficient, based on flawed testing methodology in which the EPA allows autos to shift themselves yet insists on set shift points for manuals. Even DCTs, which have less losses than slushboxes, have lower efficiency in stop-and-go traffic than a lighter, more efficient manual... from personal experience.
      transpower
      • 2 Years Ago
      The most efficient transmission by far is the CVT. Nissan even offers them with paddle-shifters for you manual transmission afficionados.
        Jon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @transpower
        Paddle shifting is NOT the same as a manual. People who dont drive manuals cant seem to get that. Anyway do CVT's beat DCTs? Does Nissan actually operate the CVT as a CVT or do they make it pretend to do discrete gear shifts like some do to please consumers?
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @transpower
        "The most efficient transmission by far is the CVT" Do you have references to prove this? I've seen lots of info stating that a CVT is better than traditional automatic transmissions, but not better than the new DCTs or someone who knows what they're doing with a manual. And as 2WM said, "the best is no transmission".
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @transpower
        The most efficient transmission is none ;)
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @transpower
        I drove one for a week. Creepy.
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Completely agree. I had one in my rental in LA last month and it was freaking me out because it sounded like a rubber band winding up and waiting to snap.
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