Automobiles are wheeled motor vehicles that carry one or more people and are used mainly for transportation. Most are powered by an internal combustion engine that burns a fuel, such as gasoline or another liquid. The power from the engine is transmitted to the wheels through a transmission and can be adjusted by gears to make the car go faster or slower.
Automobile technology grew rapidly during the first half of the twentieth century. Manufacturers innovated mass production techniques that made it possible for the middle class of American families to own automobiles in large numbers. Industries and services like gas stations and convenience stores grew to meet the demand. People gained new freedoms by being able to leave home to shop, visit friends, work or play without having to rely on others.
The development of the automobile brought changes to everyday life in the United States and throughout the world. It was an era that became known as the Age of the Automobile.
Exactly who invented the automobile is a matter of debate. Early accounts usually credited Karl Benz, from Germany, for creating the first true automobile in 1885/1886. By the 20th century, automobile ownership had become virtually universal in America.
There are many different types of automobiles, but they all use a similar engine design. The engine turns the crankshaft, which drives a chain or belt to turn the wheels. Most modern engines have a computerized control system that monitors the temperature, oil pressure and other factors. If the computer detects that something is wrong, it will alert you to the problem and often fix it automatically.
Many automobiles also have a variety of features to help you drive safer, such as air bags and cruise control. Some even have built-in navigation systems that can tell you where you are and how to get where you want to go.
While there are many advantages to owning an automobile, it’s important to keep in mind the downsides. Automobiles cause pollution that harms human health and damages the environment. Traffic jams can be caused by too many automobiles trying to go the same place at the same time. And they can be expensive to repair if they crash.
While some motorists prefer the buttery ride comfort and unruffled cruising manners of luxury sedans, others like to push their cars to the limit. If you’re in the latter group, you’ll likely appreciate a sporty model like the Mazda 3 or Hyundai Genesis G90. These models are a bit cheaper than a BMW 7 Series but offer much of the same performance.