Automobiles are motorized vehicles for passenger transportation on land. They have four wheels and an internal combustion engine, usually fueled by gasoline, a liquid petroleum product. The automobile is one of the most common and widely used of modern technologies, with over 73 million new cars produced in 2017.

Pros: Cars provide freedom of movement for their owners, making it possible for people to live in rural areas and still commute to jobs or school in cities. Owning a car can also lead to greater social interactions, since it is easy for people to pick up their friends and go on outings together. Cons: Driving can be stressful and unsafe if the driver is reckless or has a poor quality vehicle. In addition, most cars are powered by fossil fuels, which cause pollution and contribute to climate change. In order to limit greenhouse gas emissions, drivers can choose more efficient vehicles or opt to take public transportation.

The scientific and technical building blocks of the automobile date back to the late 1600s when Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens invented a type of internal-combustion engine that could be sparked by gunpowder. The first steam-powered automobiles were built in the 1800s, followed by Emile Levassor and Armand Peugeot of France who fitted their vehicles with Daimler engines and established the French automotive industry. In 1886 Gottlieb Daimler invented the first four-stroke internal combustion engine in his Benz Patentwagen. Daimler’s invention was not immediately successful, but the following year Emile Levassor and Carl Benz patented their cars with a Daimler engine and started production.

In the early twentieth century, automobiles became a dominant force in American society. They were the primary means of long-distance travel and the backbone of a consumer goods-oriented economy. By the 1920s they ranked as the largest source of jobs in the United States and were a major consumer of steel, petroleum products and other industrial supplies. They helped drive technological change in ancillary industries and shaped lifestyles of many Americans.

Autos are responsible for a large percentage of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, if drivers drive efficiently and keep their vehicles well maintained, they can significantly reduce these emissions. In addition, cars can be made with materials that are recyclable or biodegradable.

Cars can be a great convenience, but they have several drawbacks, such as their high cost and the need to regularly replace the tires, windshield wipers and air filter. In addition, there are the problems of traffic congestion and road accidents. Some countries have even banned the use of cars in urban areas in an effort to reduce air pollution. Some people are also concerned that their automobiles create waste and consume too much energy. Nevertheless, there are many reasons to own a car, such as the flexibility of schedules, being able to shop at anytime and the ability to carry more cargo than is possible on foot. It is important to consider the pros and cons before buying a car.

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