An automobile is a motor vehicle designed for passenger transportation on land. It is powered by an internal combustion engine fueled most commonly with gasoline (petrol), a liquid petroleum product. Cars also burn other fuels, most notably diesel and natural gas. An automobile is a major mode of transport, used by families and individuals for daily transportation, work and recreation. It is also one of the most recognizable symbols of modern technology.
The first automobiles were powered by steam, electricity and animal power, but gasoline powered cars soon won the race. Karl Benz of Germany is usually credited with inventing the first automobile, but American businessman and engineer Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing when he developed an assembly line to produce Model Ts at a lower cost than previously possible. This allowed automobiles to become affordable for middle class Americans, who now constituted the majority of all car owners.
The automobile has transformed society in many ways, including providing people with more freedom and time to enjoy their leisure activities. It has brought urban amenities to rural America, ending the isolation of farmers and allowing them to visit cities for jobs, education and medical care. It has also led to suburbanization, changing the architecture of houses and communities, and reshaping the conception and composition of urban neighborhoods.
In addition to transforming the way we travel, the automobile has created new forms of work. Car dealerships, repair shops and gas stations, for example, have become a significant source of employment. Many companies that manufacture cars have research and development departments where engineers and scientists develop innovative technologies to improve the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, safety systems and electronic control units of vehicles.
Whether you are looking for a compact car with great fuel economy or a spacious SUV for family outings, there is an automobile for you. The Toyota Corolla, for instance, has a long list of consumer accolades, from JD Power to Kelley Blue Book to Consumer Reports. The Honda Civic is another top choice among small cars, while the Kia Forte offers a quiet interior and impressive tech features.
The most obvious reason to own an automobile is the convenience of having your own personal transportation. You can leave your home at your leisure, without worrying about a schedule or waiting for a bus. A car is also a lot more versatile than public transportation when it comes to transporting large items like furniture, appliances or tools. With a good auto repair shop, you can keep your car running smoothly and safely.