The Importance of Automobiles
An automobile is a motor vehicle that can transport one or more people. Its primary purpose is to allow individuals and families to travel long distances in relative comfort and safety, making it a key part of modern life. It is usually designed to be driven on roads, although there are special vehicles that can be used in other environments, such as off road. Several different types of automobiles exist, based on their shape, size, power, layout and whether they are powered by gasoline, electricity or other sources. New technical developments in the field of automobiles are continually recognized and prized by manufacturers, which use them to improve their products and keep up with competition.
The history of the automobile dates back several hundred years. Its basic building blocks were laid in the late 1600s when a Dutch engineer, Christiaan Huygens, invented a type of internal combustion engine sparked by gunpowder. In 1885 Karl Benz developed the first practical car. From then on, engineers and inventors have continued to build upon his work.
While the automobile has changed many things about life in the United States, it has also caused problems. Its exhaust and use of petroleum fuel have created environmental problems. Undeveloped land has been plowed up for highways and the industry has required government regulation and taxes on gasoline and other fuels. It has created jobs and stimulated the growth of ancillary industries such as manufacturing parts, tires, rubber, steel and other metals. Service providers like gas stations and convenience stores have also grown to meet the needs of automobile users.
People who own automobiles enjoy a sense of independence and control over their lives. They don’t have to rely on public transportation and they can visit friends, family members and other places without having to adjust their schedules to those of others. The ability to go where they want, when they want and not be limited by a bus schedule or other means of traveling makes it possible for them to live a more active lifestyle.
The automobile has changed the economy, culture and the way we live. It has provided access to jobs and services in rural areas and helped urban dwellers escape the city for a vacation in the country. It has helped bring about leisure activities and the growth of related businesses like hotels, motels, amusement parks and fast-food restaurants. During the early twentieth century it became a symbol of middle class prosperity and American ingenuity. Today it is a major means of transport, moving three trillion miles (five billion kilometers) each year. As technology improves, the automobile will continue to change how we live and where we go. It may soon be inconceivable to live without one. For some people, the automobile has become their home. Some even sleep in their cars! For these reasons, the term automobile is synonymous with “home.”