An automobile, or car, is a self-propelled vehicle with four wheels and an engine that provides the power to move it. It is a common form of transportation in many countries, and is a major part of the developed world’s economy.
The term automobile originated in 1885, when Karl Benz patented his first motorwagen (motorcar). This was the first motorized vehicle built and designed as a whole rather than simply converted carriages, boats, or carts.
Automobiles are powered by an internal combustion engine. Their design combines several technologies: the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, and control systems. New technical developments are constantly being implemented to increase performance, safety and emissions.
Some cars are able to transport people and goods over long distances while others are limited in that capacity. They can also be very expensive to own and operate, but their convenience is worth it for some people.
The automobile industry was a major contributor to the development of American society during the 20th century. It revolutionized industry and technology and made everyday life much more convenient for consumers.
In the United States, the automobile was one of the first industries to adopt assembly line production techniques. This reduced the cost of automobiles until they were affordable for most middle class families.
Before the automobile, people used horse-drawn carriages to travel in and around towns. These vehicles required a lot of effort to transport people and often did not run on smooth roads.
Another important innovation was the gasoline-powered car, which made travel more convenient and allowed people to go further with less effort. By 1920, gasoline-powered cars were the dominant mode of transportation in Europe and the United States.
When gasoline became cheaper in the early 1900s, car ownership increased dramatically. This led to the creation of jobs and industries to manufacture parts and fuel for the cars.
While the car helped to improve people’s lives, it also caused a significant environmental impact. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that transportation causes 27 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.
A key reason for this was that the cars were powered by gasoline, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This can cause global warming, and it is therefore a concern for governments.
Some cars are more efficient than others in terms of fuel use and emissions, and they can be a good choice for green living. However, drivers need to be aware of the costs of owning and operating a car, including repairs, maintenance, fuel, depreciation, insurance, taxes, parking fees, tire replacement, etc.
The modern automobile is a complex technical system consisting of thousands of component parts. Some of these parts are highly engineered and require specialized skills to make, while others are not. Most of them are manufactured by automobile manufacturers, and some are sourced from suppliers.