Automobiles are vehicles that have their own power sources to move on the road. They burn fuel to make an internal combustion engine work, and the energy that comes from this is used to power a motor that moves the wheels of the car. The modern automobile usually uses gasoline (also known as petrol in some countries) to drive the motor, but other fuels can be used if needed. The engine is often positioned just forward of the front wheels, although it may be carried backwards for better weight distribution.
The automobile changed the way people lived in the 20th century. It gave them a freedom from having to rely on other people for transportation and opened the door to new lifestyles. Many people took advantage of this freedom by spending their free time traveling. Some traveled to work, while others drove to see the sights or go shopping. Having an automobile also allowed families to go on vacations and to rediscover pristine landscapes.
There are many different definitions of what constitutes an automobile, but most agree that it is a wheeled motor vehicle designed primarily for passenger transport. It usually seats one to eight people and is powered by an internal combustion engine that runs on fuel.
Karl Benz, an engineer from Germany, invented the first automobile in 1885. Other inventors and engineers followed with their own designs. By the end of the 19th century, they had largely succeeded in bringing automobile technology within reach for middle-class Americans. For example, Ransom E. Olds’ 1901-1906 one-cylinder, three-horsepower, tiller-steered automobile looked more like a horse buggy than a Mercedes but sold for less money and had lower operating costs.
While the automobile has had a profound impact on society, it can also be a source of great trouble and danger. When too many people use them at once, they create traffic jams and air pollution. The automobile also can be dangerous to the passengers if it crashes. However, these drawbacks have not stopped people from embracing the automobile, and it continues to play a major role in our daily lives.