Will manual cars ever die out?

Manual gearboxes have unquestionably had a distinguished history in UK motoring, and if you’re a currently qualified driver, there’s a good chance you learned to drive in one. But are manual cars now on the way out?

The short answer is yes, for a few reasons – but not because of any ban on manual transmission itself. Furthermore, the death throes may last for longer than many of us expect.

Why are manual gearboxes becoming less popular in cars?

The popularity of cars with manual transmission has been on the slide for a little while now. The Sun reported back in 2017, for instance, that the climbing sales of electric cars – which are only available with automatic gearboxes – meant there was a risk of manual cars disappearing from UK roads within a decade.

Fast-forward to 2020, and the vast majority of people learning to drive were still doing so in cars with manual transmission. However, statistics from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) indicated that the number of driving tests conducted in automatic cars had been steadily rising over most of the 2010s.

It was being predicted then that the increased use of automatic cars for learning to drive was likely to remain the trend. Then, in November of that year, the UK Government somewhat forced the issue, with its announcement that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned in the country from 2030 – in what it declared a “historic step towards net-zero”.

The final road for manual vehicles could prove a long one

Now, the above developments will raise important questions for some of you, so let’s answer them here.

First of all, does the impending UK Government ban mean all manual cars already circulating around the country will be suddenly banned off the roads? No, it doesn’t. The announcement refers to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, so if you still have a manual vehicle in 2030, you will be permitted to continue driving it. You will also still have the option of buying or selling a manual car on the private, used market.

So, while manual cars are on their final stretch of road in the UK, that particular stretch could be a long one. The ban is still some distance away, and it’s worth remembering that automatic models still have a reputation of being more expensive than their manual counterparts – in terms of both their initial purchase price, and the ongoing maintenance and servicing costs.

Eventually, it will become a less and less practical and sensible option to own and operate a manual car on a day-to-day basis. As electric vehicles (EVs) – which, as we stated above, are only available as automatics – surely become dominant in the UK, the public charging infrastructure needed to run them will become more developed, and petrol stations will gradually disappear.

That’s before we even touch on how heavy the costs with regard to fuel, insurance and road tax are likely to become for manual vehicles in the years ahead.

In summary, then, if you have a manual car right now, you don’t have much to worry about – they aren’t going away just yet. However, as the 2020s and 2030s wear on, they eventually will become a relic of the past.

Until then, whatever your needs are in relation to both manual and automatic car servicing and MOT in Thurrock, you can be sure that Advanced Service Centre will be on hand to assist and make your life easier. Simply give us a call now, on 01375 384 883, for further details and advice about our services.

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