Automobiles are four-wheeled vehicles designed to run primarily on roads and to transport two or six passengers. As of 2002 there were 590 million automobiles worldwide, of which 140 million were in the United States. Unlike trucks, which are designed to carry cargo, automobiles are constructed for the transport of people. They are powered by internal combustion engines, and most use gasoline as fuel. Some also use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
The automobile was one of the most significant inventions of the modern age. It gave people more freedom of movement and led to the development of new industries and services. These included the production of oil and gasoline, rubber, and plastics, as well as businesses like gas stations and convenience stores. It helped to build cities, and it allowed humans to take advantage of the surplus of fossil fuels on the Earth.
During the late 1800s, European manufacturers were developing sophisticated cars like the 1901 Mercedes while American firms like Ransom E. Olds were producing a tiller-steered three-horsepower car with a curved dash that looked and functioned much like a horse-drawn carriage. Americans were able to develop mass production techniques that allowed them to produce automobiles at affordable prices, and the industry grew rapidly.
By the 1920s, automobiles were transforming society. They enabled women to work outside the home and become more independent, as they could drive to their jobs. They gave families the freedom to travel, which encouraged family vacations. As a result of this freedom, there was a greater push for women to vote, and by the end of the 1920s, women were voting in large numbers.
In the 1930s, market saturation and technological stagnation brought automobile production to a standstill in the United States as manufacturers focused on production for the war effort. However, with the end of World War II and the emergence of the Japanese economy, production and innovation accelerated. In the 1960s, concern over non-functional styling and the ecological aspect of “gas guzzling” automobiles gave way to concerns over the quality and safety of the vehicle.
Today, the automobile is a symbol of the modern world and continues to be the most popular means of transportation in the world. Its technological developments continue to shape our lives. In the future we can expect to see more hybrid and electrical cars as we move away from traditional internal combustion engines.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for the construction, maintenance and preservation of America’s roadways and overseeing automobile safety. This agency is made up of various divisions such as the Office of Vehicle Safety Research and the Office of Vehicle Standards.
Many people choose to own a vehicle because it allows for more personal freedom and flexibility than traveling by train or bus. There are benefits and disadvantages to owning a car, such as the need to pay for gasoline, insurance, and repairs. There are also safety concerns if you’re not paying attention to the road while driving. If you are a new driver, it is important to practice safe driving and learn more about the rules of the road.