The Environmental Impact of Automobiles


Automobiles have become an integral part of our society. They help us get to work, run errands, and visit friends and family. Without the automobile, modern life would be difficult to imagine. Whether it’s the sleek, aerodynamic lines of a BMW or the artful mid-century modern designs that cruise U.S. highways and byways, the automobile has been an essential symbol of American culture for generations.

The word automobile is a combination of two Latin words: auto and mobilia, meaning self-propelled and mobile. The term first appeared in the English language around 1769. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is generally credited with inventing the first self-propelled vehicle, a steam-powered tricycle that could carry four passengers. The first gasoline-powered vehicles were developed in 1885 by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. The development of the automobile brought with it many new economic and social changes, including urbanization and suburbanization.

Modern automobiles are complex technical systems, and they often have hundreds of parts. Each component has specific design functions and must be designed and built in a way that will allow the vehicle to perform its intended function in the most efficient manner possible. During the design phase, engineers consider a wide range of factors, including aerodynamics, fuel efficiency, safety, and comfort.

The automobile is a multi-billion dollar industry that has become one of the most important parts of our modern lives. Approximately 73 million automobiles were produced worldwide in 2017. The vast majority are passenger cars, which are designed to carry the driver and a limited number of passengers. A car that is primarily used for cargo is usually called a truck, van, or bus.

As the popularity of the automobile has grown, so have questions about its environmental impact. Automobiles contribute to air pollution, and they are a major cause of global warming. The use of fossil fuels to power automobiles also depletes the world’s supply of non-renewable resources.

Many people choose not to own an automobile, opting instead to use public transportation if they have easy access to it or to carpool with friends. This is sometimes referred to as “going green.” However, the convenience of owning an automobile can make up for some of the upfront costs.

Having your own automobile provides you with the freedom to go where you want when you want, and it can open up many job opportunities that may be otherwise out of reach. In addition, being able to travel longer distances gives you greater flexibility in your social life, and it saves you money on train or bus fares. The only drawback to owning an automobile is that it can be expensive and inconvenient if you don’t plan carefully. However, it’s worth the expense when you consider how much time you can save by not having to wait for buses or trains. These examples have been automatically compiled from online sources and do not represent the views of Merriam-Webster or its editors.