Automobiles are powered by a motor which burns fuel to produce the mechanical energy that drives them. Most modern automobiles use a gasoline (or other fuel) to power an internal combustion engine. The engines are driven by a transmission system that utilizes gears to convert the engine’s rotational speed and torque into wheelset speed and acceleration.
The automobile was invented in the late 1800s and is widely considered to be one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century. Its impact has been immense, and it is hard to imagine a world without the automobile.
Exactly who invented the automobile is still a matter of debate, although earlier accounts often gave credit to Karl Benz from Germany for creating the first true automobile in 1885/1886 with his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Gottlieb Daimler, a German industrialist, also made vehicles that were comparable to the Benz car and it is thought that he invented the fluid coupling that is used in all modern automobiles.
By the 1920s, automobiles had become a dominant force in American life, with far more people owning cars than any other consumer goods. Cheap raw materials and a large, geographically extensive market encouraged the development of mass production by U.S. manufacturers like Henry Ford, who revolutionized industrial manufacturing with the introduction of assembly lines. The new methods dramatically reduced the price of Ford’s Model T runabout so that it became affordable for middle-class Americans to purchase.
The automobile changed American culture and society by giving people more freedom and access to jobs, products, and services. It also stimulated many ancillary industries that supported the automobile, such as steel and petroleum. However, there are some downsides to owning an automobile, such as the fact that it can be expensive and pollute the environment. In order to solve these problems, many cities have developed public transportation systems that can get people where they want to go more quickly and inexpensively than a private automobile.