Automobiles are vehicles for passenger transportation on land. They usually have four wheels and an internal combustion engine fueled by petroleum fuels (gasoline and diesel) but some use electric motors. The branches of engineering that deal with the manufacture and technologies of automobiles are called automotive engineering.
The modern automobile was invented in the late 1800s and perfected in Germany and France by engineers like Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. By the 1920s, American businessman Henry Ford greatly improved the manufacturing process, making it possible for middle class families to afford cars. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler soon dominated the market, transforming the way people lived and traveled.
Cars gave people more freedom to travel and visit friends and family, and allowed them to do a wider variety of leisure activities. They also spawned new industries and services such as restaurants, hotels, amusement parks and fast-food chains. However, the automobile also caused harm to the environment through exhaust and the destruction of undeveloped land to build roads and related infrastructure.
Today, automobiles are a major part of the world economy. There are more than 1.3 billion cars in operation around the world, and they transport people and goods over three trillion miles (five trillion kilometres) each year. This makes the automobile one of the most important developments in human history.
Having a car means you can be alone with your thoughts and not be disturbed by the behavior of other passengers on public buses, or have to share space with strangers in an air-conditioned train. It also allows you to go to places that are difficult to reach with public transport or by walking, such as mountainous areas and deserts.
The automobile is also a useful tool for people who work in different parts of the country. It can help you get to work on time and avoid delays or long distances, and it can make your commute much faster and more comfortable than a bus or train ride.
A car gives you the freedom to visit friends and relatives who live far away, or to shop at places that are not easily accessible. It can also save you a lot of time by cutting down on your travel time, especially if you have to cross town to get to the office or to a store.
When you have a car, it becomes easy to go shopping and to travel to places where the weather is better. It is also easier to move about in the countryside, where there are many things to see and do. It is a great way to escape from the hectic, fast pace of the city and enjoy a little peace and quiet in the countryside. Having a car also gives you the flexibility to take a day off and to meet your friends for coffee or lunch. It can even be your only form of transportation in an emergency, such as a bad snowstorm or a hurricane.