Automobiles are vehicles that travel on roads and can carry a passenger. They are powered by an internal combustion engine, electric motor or other means of energy and can be driven by a human or by an automatic transmission system. The term “automobile” is derived from the Latin word for “of itself” and can also be used to describe a machine that operates without human intervention, such as an automatic washing machine or automatic rifle.
Automobile development began in the 1800s with engineers such as Karl Benz creating steam, electric and gasoline-powered transport vehicles. As the century progressed, automobile production became a global industry as companies like Ford, General Motors and Chrysler became dominant manufacturers in North America. The automobile became a driving force for change in twentieth-century America and helped form an economy that emphasized consumer goods.
Automakers poured money into research and development to improve the efficiency of automobiles. Using a variety of methods, such as aerodynamics and computer modeling, they have created vehicles with faster engines, cleaner fuels and safer materials. The automobile has become an essential part of the daily lives of many Americans, with 88 percent of households owning one or more vehicles.
Having a car gives you the freedom to travel wherever and whenever you want. You can visit friends, shop for items you need and go to social events. It can save you time because it eliminates the need to rely on public transportation schedules and routes. It can also help you avoid the hassles of navigating densely populated urban areas where narrow streets and traffic congestion are commonplace.
With the advent of automobiles, new businesses that serviced them were born, including gas stations, hotels, restaurants and amusement parks. The automobile also brought about laws and regulations that regulated speed limits, safety features, driver’s licenses and highway rules. It also prompted people to leave the cities and move to rural areas, which opened up new markets for farming and cattle ranching.
As the auto industry grew, its workforce exploded and wages rose. As a result, the middle class was able to afford cars for the first time. These new vehicles paved the way for more leisure activities such as golf and other sports.
While the automobile once seemed to be a progressive force in society, it has now been eclipsed by other new technologies such as electronic media, lasers and computers. However, automobile ownership still remains important to the nation’s economy and is an integral aspect of modern life. Owning a vehicle can even influence other major purchases, such as homes, by demonstrating that you are able to take out loans and make regular payments. Additionally, owning a vehicle can help you save time by allowing you to skip the bus or train and run your errands at a more convenient hour. Often, taking a taxi or relying on public transportation can be much more expensive than simply purchasing a car and maintaining it well over the years.