Automobiles are four wheeled vehicles that are used to transport passengers. They are usually powered by an internal combustion engine, though they can also be powered by electricity or other energy sources such as wind and solar power. They are generally smaller than a truck/lorry and bus, and they move more slowly. Automobiles can be driven by a human or a computer. They have brakes that can be used to stop the vehicle quickly in an emergency, or to slow it down when parked. Some automobiles use regenerative brakes, which turn some of the energy from the car’s movement into electricity.

The development of the modern automobile is a key part of twentieth century history. It revolutionized the way we live, creating a culture based on consumerism and mass production. The automobile is also a major employer, providing one out of six jobs in the United States in 1982. It is the largest consumer of raw materials such as petroleum and steel, and it provides many ancillary industries with significant business.

Automobile technology was perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century, but Henry Ford brought the automobile to the masses with his Model T in 1908. His innovation was a moving assembly line that reduced manufacturing time. This made it possible to produce a car at less than the average wage and bring it within reach of most American families. His automobile was the first to have many of the features we take for granted such as seat belts, a windshield and rearview mirrors.

In the 1920s, American manufacturers dominated the market and produced a wide variety of models. By the 1930s, however, market saturation combined with technological stagnation. Many Americans began to question the safety of automobiles and complained about the fuel efficiency of gas guzzling cars. Questions also arose about the environmental impact of automobiles, which consumed large amounts of raw materials and polluted air.

Having your own automobile saves you from having to depend on others to get around, and gives you the freedom to choose where you want to go and when. It also makes it easy to visit friends and family in different cities. You can also visit places that are not accessible by public transportation.

Automobiles can be a source of pollution when too many of them are driven in close proximity, or if they run on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. They can also be dangerous to pedestrians and other drivers. In densely populated areas, there are often better alternatives to driving such as buses and passenger trains. Taking these vehicles can be quicker and cheaper than driving an automobile in traffic jams. However, if you live in an area where there are few or no public transportation options, then owning an automobile can make sense. It is more economical than paying for taxis and can save you time in your daily commute, shopping trips and visits to family and friends.