An automobile, also known as a motor car, is a motor vehicle that is designed to transport passengers. It is usually powered by an internal combustion engine, most commonly fueled by gasoline (a liquid petroleum product), although other fuels such as diesel oil and natural gas are used in some vehicles. The modern automobile is often characterized by its four-wheel drive system, which distributes power to all four wheels of the vehicle. Its speed is typically controlled by an automatic transmission.
The automobile revolutionized the world, providing greater freedom of movement than ever before possible. It gave people the ability to visit places far away. Without cars, a person would be limited to the proximity of his home and the availability of public transportation systems. Today, it is inconceivable to think of life without an automobile.
In the past, when people travelled by train or bus they were limited to a schedule that was determined by when the trains ran and how far away the destination was. The automobile allowed individuals to choose the time and place of their travel, thus opening up new possibilities for careers, social relationships, and where they could live in relation to their work.
The development of the automobile was aided by advances in science and technology. Leonardo da Vinci began sketching designs for passenger vehicles in the 15th century, and in the late 1800s and early 1900s inventors worked to perfect the steam, electric and gasoline automobiles. Karl Benz of Germany is widely recognized as the father of the automobile, and was responsible for designing his Benz Patent-Motorwagen in 1885/1886.
By 1920 the automobile had taken over the streets and highways of Europe and America. It was the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented society, and it provided one in six jobs in the United States. Its demand stimulated the growth of ancillary industries such as steel and oil, and it was a catalyst for the development of the American manufacturing industry.
Automobiles produce pollutants that can harm the environment. Exhaust from the engines, rubber, and motor oils can build up in roadways or be washed into streams where they can cause ecological problems. In addition, the waste from the disposal of old or worn out automobiles is a growing problem.
The future of the automobile is uncertain, as the environmental impact of these large and powerful machines has begun to cause concern. However, a number of technological improvements have made cars more environmentally friendly. They are now more efficient and require less maintenance. They are also safer to drive. These factors will continue to improve the automobile industry in the future. However, it is important to remember that the world’s supply of fossil fuels will eventually run out. As a result, the automotive industry will have to change its production methods and start producing more energy-efficient cars. The world will then need to shift to a new mode of transportation. The alternative is not clear, but it may be something like trains or buses.