How Automobiles Open Up the World


Automobiles are one of the most common ways for people to get around. They are vehicles that use an internal combustion engine to move on four wheels. They are most often powered by gasoline, but they can also be powered by electricity and other fuels.

The modern automobile has evolved through breakthroughs in technology, including electronic computers, high-strength plastics and new alloys of steel and nonferrous metals. Other innovations have included the development of air bags, seat belts, rearview mirrors and turn signals. Most of these developments are driven by environmental, safety and fuel economy concerns, but some have emerged from consumer demand for greater convenience and luxury features.


Having an automobile gives you freedom to travel and visit friends and family across long distances without having to rely on others for rides or waiting for public transportation. It is especially helpful in areas where there are no public transit options or where it is difficult to walk to places. Having your own car also allows you to take advantage of job opportunities in distant locations and move to different parts of the country, or even to another continent.

Many jobs require you to commute to work, and having a car makes it possible for you to go to your job in a reasonable amount of time without needing to depend on public transportation or asking friends for rides. It can also save you time when running errands by allowing you to drive directly to the places that need to be visited.

In the 1800s, engineers like Karl Benz invented the first gasoline-powered cars. But it was American businessman Henry Ford who improved the manufacturing process to make automobiles affordable for middle class families. By 1920, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler dominated the automobile industry. The automobile spawned new industries and businesses, such as hotels and motels, amusement parks, and fast-food restaurants. It also caused harm to the environment, with exhaust from gas-powered cars contributing to pollution and consuming undeveloped land for highways.

After World War II, the automobile industry began to slow down. It was during this time that many Americans became dissatisfied with the nonfunctional styling of American made automobiles and the draining of the world’s oil reserves. This discontent led to a shift in the automotive market, with consumers preferring fuel-efficient, functionally designed and well-built small cars from Japan. In the 1970s, Japanese automobiles began outselling American models and have been the world’s leading exporters since 1980. Today, Japanese automakers continue to innovate and introduce advanced, environmentally friendly vehicles that are ahead of their American counterparts in quality and style. However, some Americans still prefer to buy American-made automobiles due to their perceived reliability and durability. The decision to purchase a car should always be weighed against the associated costs of owning and operating it. These include the initial cost, maintenance and repair, fuel, insurance and parking costs.