The Basics of Automobiles


An automobile is a motorized vehicle that is used for transporting people and goods. Most modern cars run on a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine that uses fuel to make the pistons inside the cylinder move up and down, driving the wheels and generating electricity.

Cars have profoundly changed the world, bringing a host of benefits and drawbacks. They fueled the economy, allowing people to live farther away from work and creating a need for streets and highways (see Transportation). The automobile became the backbone of a consumer goods-oriented society, and it gave rise to numerous industries that supported it, such as garages, auto insurance companies and gas stations.

Whether it is for daily errands, running to work or to spend time with family, having a vehicle can save you a lot of time that would otherwise be spent traveling by other means. Moreover, the money saved on bus or train tickets can be invested in other things, such as buying a car that is both safe and fuel efficient to cut down on costs.

Automobiles are complex machines that have many systems working together to power, control and steer the vehicle. At the heart of every automobile is the engine, which produces the power to drive the car, as well as the electricity for lights and other electrical systems. While there are several types of engines, petrol-driven cars remain the most popular in the world. The automobile was first perfected in the late 19th century by pioneers like Gottlieb Daimler, Nikolaus Otto and Karl Benz. Around this time the United States became the center of automobile production, led by Henry Ford, who revolutionized automotive manufacturing by introducing assembly lines in which workers perform one task while parts are moved along on conveyor belts.

Cars give millions of people around the world jobs. In addition, they have also spawned many ancillary industries that are largely dependent on them. For example, in 1982, the automobile ranked as the number one producer of steel and one of the largest consumers of petroleum products.

While owning a vehicle has many advantages, it can be dangerous and expensive. Besides the fact that many accidents are caused by reckless drivers, automobiles also cause environmental damage by polluting the air and contributing to global warming. The most common sources of greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons, which are released by the automobile’s combustion of gasoline.

While many people can still not imagine living without a car, there are those who choose to live without one. Those who do not own cars often rely on public transportation and carpool with friends, if possible. Some even choose to walk or ride a bicycle instead. For some, owning a car is not worth the hassle of maintenance, paying for gas and finding a place to park. However, if you can afford it and have no other choice, the automobile is a great tool for transporting yourself and goods.