Automobiles are four-wheeled vehicles that are powered by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel. The engine’s power is transmitted through a system of supports to the wheels, which are used to propel the vehicle. The chassis and body, analogous to the skeletal structure of the human body, support these systems and provide safety, comfort, and protection from the elements for passengers and drivers.
The automobile was first invented and perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century, by such men as Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz, and Nicolaus Otto. By 1901 Daimler had designed what some consider to be the world’s first modern motorcar, the thirty-five-horsepower Mercedes. It was a sleek, light weight, powerful vehicle that could travel fifty-three miles per hour.
In the United States the automobile became a major force for change during the 1920s. By then it was the largest consumer of petroleum and a chief customer of steel and other industrial products. It also was the backbone of a new, consumer-goods-oriented economy and provided one out of six jobs in America.
American manufacturers took advantage of a buyer’s market for an expensive consumer good with few buyer protection laws and a much greater demand than existed in Europe. Cheap raw materials and the absence of import tariffs encouraged sales over a vast geographic area. Manufacturers also exploited their tradition of mechanization to produce cars in large volumes at lower costs. To maintain sales, they introduced a variety of styles and models to attract buyers to their brands.
As automobiles proliferated, their use was accompanied by increasing social problems. Traffic congestion, accidents, and fatalities prompted demands for licensure and stricter safety regulation. In addition, teenagers gained a sense of freedom and independence with driving, and couples were able to have more intimate times together as they traveled by car.
Automobiles can be found at any place where people travel to work, school, shopping and play. A typical passenger car can carry up to five people. It is equipped with a radio, air conditioning and power windows, and has many features to make the ride more comfortable and enjoyable.
The automotive industry has made a tremendous contribution to the world’s development. In addition to providing transportation for people, it has contributed to the expansion of industry, agriculture, commerce, and communication. It has shaped our culture and lifestyles. The invention of the automobile paved the way for the modern industrial society we live in today. It has also made it possible for us to travel to far away places in a short period of time. The automobile is one of the greatest inventions in history. Without it, our lives would be much more difficult to manage. Without a car, we would have to schedule our lives around the availability of public transportation, which is very limited. Having a car makes it easier to get around and saves you time, and it allows you to choose the route that you prefer.