Automobiles, formerly called motorcars, are four-wheeled vehicles used for transportation. Most are powered by internal combustion engines burning volatile fuel such as gasoline, but some use other types of energy. The automobile is one of the most common of modern technologies and a global industry. It has been a symbol of the promise and the pitfalls of the industrial age.

The automobile changed the lives of people in many ways, for example it allowed them to travel long distances to work or visit family and friends. It also gave rise to new industries like motels, hotels and restaurants as well as leisure activities such as amusement parks and recreational driving. Its negative impact on the environment included air pollution and the destruction of undeveloped land for highway construction. The automobile also brought with it new laws and government regulations such as seat belts, driver’s licenses and highway rules.


The modern automobile was developed in the late 1800s. It is a motor vehicle that uses an internal combustion engine and is designed to carry a driver and passengers, although there are some models that can carry more. It is usually fueled by gasoline, and some are also powered by other liquids such as alcohol and electricity. Its development symbolizes both the promise and pitfalls of modern civilization.

Until the invention of the automobile, people traveled on foot or by horse drawn carriages. The first steam cars, built in the mid-1700s, could reach high speeds but were difficult to start and had limited range. Electric cars, which were powered by battery power, had a 38 percent share of the United States market in 1900 but were expensive and had a very limited range.

Karl Benz, an engineer from Germany, invented the first true automobile in 1885. His Benz Patent-Motorwagen used an internal combustion engine with a four-stroke type of internal combustion that burned gasoline and produced electricity. It was the first of its kind and paved the way for the modern automobile.

The American car maker Henry Ford revolutionized automobile production in 1908 when he began producing cars on an assembly line where workers do only one task and parts move along a conveyer belt. By 1927 Ford’s Model T had sold 15 million units and mass personal transportation had become a reality.

Modern cars are designed to have a variety of safety features for passengers, including a passenger side airbag and a padded dashboard that protects the head. Most cars have seats for a driver and up to three other passengers. Vehicles that have more than five seats are generally referred to as limousines, minivans or vans. There are also special automobiles designed for emergency use such as police cars, fire trucks and ambulances.

Having a car makes it easy to reach home when a loved one falls sick or an accident occurs. It is also convenient to go shopping and visiting friends. It saves time on long walks and reduces the need to take public transport. It is also a good option when the weather is bad and it is impossible to travel by foot or by bicycle.

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