What Are Automobiles?


Automobiles are powered by engines that use gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, or other liquids to push pistons down into cylinders that spin wheels. They are a part of modern life, and people spend a lot of their time in them. People get to choose where they want to go, when, and how quickly they can do it — things that aren’t always possible with public transportation. Shopping is a breeze, too; you don’t have to lug large purchases home on a bus or by foot.

The automobile has changed the way we live, work, play, and socialize. Some of these changes have been for the better. But there are downsides: Besides the obvious hazards of accidents, theft, and death, cars contribute to traffic congestion and pollution. They can be expensive, and their maintenance demands are time-consuming. They consume a significant portion of the world’s fossil fuels, which are finite resources.

History credits Karl Benz, an engineer from Germany, with inventing the first true automobile in 1885/86. Later, American businessman Henry Ford introduced assembly line techniques to industrial manufacturing, which brought down the price of his Model T until it was affordable for middle-class families.

The automobile helped create new industries, including road construction and maintenance, and services like gas stations and convenience stores. It also gave people more freedom and access to jobs, and it was instrumental in the growth of America into an industrial powerhouse. After World War II, the automobile became a global enterprise.