Automobiles – Should You Own One?


An automobile (or car) is a four-wheeled motor vehicle that is intended for passenger transportation. It is propelled by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel, most commonly gasoline. Automobiles are generally constructed to run primarily on roads and have seating for one to six passengers. The automotive industry is an important economic and social sector, with global annual sales of more than 73 million new cars and trucks. The modern automobile is a complex technical system with many subsystems requiring specific design functions.

The earliest automobiles were powered by steam, but the development of the internal combustion engine allowed them to operate on a much more reliable basis. The automobile revolutionized transportation in the 20th century, providing on-demand, door-to-door mobility for citizens. Combined with a growth in population density, this led to the expansion of public transport systems and urbanization of cities. The automobile also has a significant effect on rural and suburban life, making it possible to reach places not served by public transit.

In addition to providing personal mobility, the automobile can be used to carry goods and equipment that are too large or heavy for public transport. This flexibility has made it a vital mode of transportation in developing countries with limited or nonexistent public transport networks. However, the comparatively high cost of an automobile compared with other forms of transportation has caused some economies to adopt congestion pricing or other measures to limit car usage.

Whether or not to own and drive an automobile depends on a number of factors, including culture and location. In some cases, people own and drive cars to obtain jobs in locations far from where they live. In other cases, people have a sense of identity that is linked to their car and use it to display status. The automobile also offers a degree of privacy and comfort not available with other modes of transportation.

A car is an expensive possession, and it can be a major source of debt for its owner. There are several methods to manage this debt, but many people still struggle with it. Aside from debt, there are also maintenance costs associated with owning and driving a car. There are also other fees that can add up, such as parking fees, insurance premiums and state taxes.

There is a wide range of automobiles on the market, and the right one for you will depend on your preferences and budget. Consumer Reports recommends the Nissan Sentra sedan and Rogue Sport subcompact SUV in the under $25,000 category; the Toyota Prius Hybrid and Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrids in the $25,000 to $35,000 range; the Kia Telluride three-row SUV and Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup truck in the $30,000 to $45,000 category; and the Ford Mustang Mach-E electric sportscar in the $45,000 and up category. These models are among the most highly rated by Consumer Reports. Other recommended vehicles include the Volkswagen Jetta sedan and Golf hatchback, and the Chevrolet Camaro and Tesla Model S sportscars.