Automobiles are a means of transportation that provide many benefits to people. They allow commuters to get to work and school without having to worry about missing the bus or train. They also help people travel to places they would not have been able to reach before, such as far away relatives’ homes or the countryside. In addition, automobiles can be used for personal purposes such as going shopping or taking a vacation. However, they can also have some negative effects such as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Automobile is a French word that means motor car. It was invented in the late 1800s and became an integral part of modern life. During the 1920s it was one of the main forces driving American society forward. It was the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented economy and provided jobs for millions of Americans. It was the most important user of petroleum and a major consumer of steel and other industrial products. The automobile also played an important role in forming the national highway system.
Originally, automobiles were powered by steam or electricity. However, in the early 1900s they began to be powered by internal combustion engines fueled by gasoline. This innovation allowed cars to be designed for speed, comfort and safety. These vehicles are often called four-wheeled or four-door vehicles and have seating for up to six or seven passengers. Other types of cars include minivans, sport cars and buses.
The automobile is a complex machine. The engine provides the power to drive the wheels and make the vehicle move, and it is connected to the chassis which provides the framework for the rest of the car. The wheels and suspension are attached to the chassis, which in turn is connected to the body. The body provides the comfort, safety and protection from the elements for the automobile’s passengers.
Since the 1920s nearly all automobiles have been mass-produced to meet market demand. In order to compete with each other, manufacturers developed a variety of models to appeal to different buyers. They were based on the same basic design, but differed in size and cost. This practice grew even more pronounced after World War II, when the industry funneled resources to support the military.
The annual restyle of the automobile was a marketing strategy that came to an end with increased safety and fuel efficiency standards; increasing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions; escalating oil prices after the 1973 and 1979 oil shocks; and the penetration of the U.S. and world markets by German and Japanese manufacturers with functionally designed, low-cost cars.
The automobile is now a major force in society and, when properly maintained, can provide great freedom and convenience. But its problems can also be significant, especially in developing countries. These problems include the soaring costs of fuel and maintenance, traffic congestion and safety. Some of the more serious problems are the environmental effects, such as air pollution and a drain on dwindling global oil supplies.