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Neither specific websites of Hertz, Budget, Alamo, Enterprise, Thirftly or FOX allow you to specify that you want to rent a manual car. Neither do Kayak, Hotwire and Priceline.

Is there a way to book a manual car in the US?

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    Why would you ? Driving a car with an automatic transmission is very easy, even if you are used to drive a manual. – jeroen_de_schutter May 12 '15 at 12:37
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    TL;DR - The answer is no. Only a small percentage of the American population knows how to drive a manual transmission. – Ben Crowell May 12 '15 at 15:57
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    I'm surprised at the commenters questioning why the OP wants a manual car. Personally, I can't understand why anyone would drive an automatic car, especially a so-called 'sports car'. – Craig Welch May 12 '15 at 17:03
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    Indeed @el.pescado, often driving some thousands of miles. In Europe, we always ask for, and get, a manual diesel car. – Craig Welch May 12 '15 at 19:46
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    @MasonWheeler: Regarding performance: Unless you are on a drag strip, the feeling of performance in a stick is better than the feeling of performance with an automatice. The OP presumably is not running moonshine, but would rather enjoy the feeling of actually driving (not just steering) the vehicle. Regarding safety: the safer machine is the machine whose controls one is familiar with. Perhaps an automatic-bred driver in an automatic is safer than a manual-bred driver in a manual, but less safe than either is a manual-bred driver in an automatic. – dotancohen May 13 '15 at 7:18
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tl;dr: You cannot

Generally US rental companies don't have option to select transmission type, because they don't offer anything other than automatic.

The only cars in popular rental companies would have any chance to have manual transmission, would be high-end sports cars. And even so, that chance is slim to none. For example at Hertz you have "adrenaline collection" with cars like Mustang GT Premium or Corvette Stingray and they still only have automatic transmission option. They even have European sports cars like BMW M5 or Porsche Cayman, also only automatic.

The only way to get rental with manual, would be to use one of the peer-to-peer rentals and choose category "exotic cars" or similar. But even with these I haven't seen much offer of manual transmission (practically none at all).

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    I've absolutely seen manuals on RelayRides in the past though most were pickup trucks. It looks like they're getting away from allowing manuals though support.relayrides.com/hc/en-us/articles/… – Carl Oct 5 '15 at 13:04
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    A large number of people in America don't know how to drive stick. Rent a manual and you're likely to have the clutch beat up. – Loren Pechtel Dec 26 '15 at 23:53
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Some companies rent manual cars. Here's one such company in San Diego.

I can't help but chuckle that they have a paragraph explaining the context, and have 'how to drive a proper car' (my wording) sessions.

I've not lived that long in the US, and finding a manual car to purchase was a struggle. We got a very fine two year old Saab, but gave up on the idea of getting a diesel powered vehicle.

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    Do the car shops even know how to fix trouble with a manual-transmission car? This could get quite expensive... :D – Luaan May 12 '15 at 14:05
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    I can't speak to the US, but in Canada neither buying nor repairing manual transmission cars has been difficult. (However not all dealership employees can drive them, sometimes they have to get someone else to bring the car around to the front.) However buying a used one might be a different story. – Kate Gregory May 12 '15 at 16:58
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    Another hazard @kateGregory is valet parking. The other night one valet didn't have anyone on staff who would drive my car. At least they were honest. I'd hate to have them somehow drive off then have an accident selecting reverse in the garage. – Craig Welch May 12 '15 at 17:01
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In North America the percentage of drivers who can use a clutch and manual transmission without burning one of them out inside a week is rather small. Driving schools teach with automatic transmissions, not all that many drivers bother to learn about anything other than D and R.

The rental car companies now have a simple choice: buy cars everyone can use, or buy cars a lot of renters will either decline or damage. You also won't get diesel rental cars for the same reason - the engine will be ruined the first week because someone put regular gas in it.

I've rented in Europe (Germany) and got manual-transmission diesels every time. Also every time the rental agent heard my Canadian accent and asked me if I can drive a manual. I said I own one back home, which ended the discussion.

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