An automobile is a wheeled passenger vehicle that is powered by an internal combustion engine. Automobiles have four wheels and can carry one to six people. They are designed to run primarily on roads and are built principally for the transport of passengers rather than cargo.
Cars can be powered by either gasoline, diesel fuel, or electric power. Historically, gasoline-powered cars have been the most popular. They are the easiest to operate and offer the greatest flexibility for driving on different types of road systems.
Gasoline-powered vehicles are usually equipped with automatic transmissions and air conditioning. They can also be fitted with a heater. Diesel-powered vehicles are usually equipped with a manual transmission. Diesel engines are more efficient than gasoline-powered engines and produce less pollution. However, they are not as easy to start or as quiet as gasoline-powered engines.
The first modern automobile was invented by Karl Benz in 1885. Many other inventors and engineers followed with their own designs. By the late 1800s, several companies were producing vehicles. These early cars were expensive and only affordable to the wealthy.
In 1913, Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, which made it possible to make cars in large numbers at a low cost. This made cars available to many middle-class families.
After World War II, automobile manufacturers improved their products by adding features that made them easier to operate and more comfortable. Steel bodies became common, and heating systems were added. Many cars also were fitted with power steering and brakes, which were a luxury in earlier models. In the 1960s, concerns began to surface about automobile pollution and the draining of world oil reserves. This prompted manufacturers to design more fuel-efficient cars.
Today, there are more than 1.4 billion cars in operation worldwide. Most are in the United States, where the average American drives over three trillion miles every year.
Cars have become essential to modern life. They save time on commuting, shopping, and visiting friends and family. They allow you to travel great distances and see more of the world. And they provide a way to get around when the public transportation system is inadequate or unreliable.
If you are planning to buy a new automobile, you should know what your needs and budget are before making your final decision. There are many cars to choose from, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you are going to use your car for off-road driving, you will want a more durable and simple design than a luxurious sedan.
You should also consider whether you need a trunk for storage and the ability to haul a trailer or other equipment. The price of a car will depend on the model and its features. You should also be aware of the safety standards and emissions requirements for your country. If you are concerned about the environment, you should also look for green cars. If you are looking for a fast car, you should consider buying a sports car.