What Are Automobiles?

The automobile (or car) is a wheeled passenger vehicle that carries its own motor. It is designed to run primarily on roads and typically has seating for one to six people. The automobile is powered by an internal combustion engine that burns a liquid fuel such as gasoline or petrol, alcohol, naphtha, or diesel oil to produce mechanical energy that drives the wheels of the car. It has a variety of styling and performance options, such as a retractable roof in convertibles and different braking systems.

ACCESS TO TOWN AND COUNTRY: Owning a car gives you freedom to travel long distances to work and play. You can also visit family and friends more easily. It can save time because you don’t have to rely on public transport and you can make stops along the way as needed. It is also a status symbol, and can be used as a means to show your wealth or style. However, owning a car comes with responsibilities like maintenance and insurance, and the environmental impact of automobile emissions.

ADVANCES IN AUTOMATION: Since 1920, the automobile has been a key force for change in American society. It spawned new industries and created jobs, especially in petroleum and steel. Roads were improved, and services like gas stations and fast-food chains grew to meet the demand. It was the primary mode of transportation for middle class families.

Automobile manufacturers developed models and styles to appeal to a range of buyers with changing needs. For example, Alfred P. Sloan arranged for Chevrolet to share parts with Pontiac and Oldsmobile so that people could “move up” to better cars as their financial situation improved.