An automobile is a self-propelled motor vehicle for transporting passengers that is primarily powered by an internal combustion engine. The engines used in automobiles are usually gasoline fueled, although diesel fuel is also sometimes used for heavier vehicles such as trucks and buses. The automobile industry is one of the world’s largest industries and it is a major source of employment.
The automotive industry is a complex network of businesses and suppliers that produces a diverse range of products, services and solutions. Its global reach and comparatively high level of innovation have contributed to making it a significant force in international business, economics and politics.
The automobile industry has been at the forefront of many environmental and social issues. These include pollution of air, water and soil; traffic accidents and congestion; energy use; and the disposal of obsolete and scrapped vehicles. In recent years, concerns about greenhouse gas emissions have given rise to a number of policies and programs designed to promote the more efficient operation of cars.
As the first generation of automobiles came onto the road, American culture was transformed as well. Families were able to travel long distances and rediscover pristine landscapes and shops and towns in rural areas that had been out of their reach. Teenagers were able to gain independence and autonomy with their own cars, while dating couples could enjoy the privacy of a car ride together. The automobile also encouraged the development of new businesses and restaurants, such as the quintessential roadside diner where greasy foods and fast service were available to busy drivers on the go.
In addition, the automobile has provided many other benefits to society. It has enabled people to live farther from their workplaces and make more time for hobbies, such as sports and art. It has also led to the development of new forms of recreation, such as recreational boating and camping. The automobile has become a symbol of the American way of life and it has helped to shape the country’s national identity.
The papers collected for this Special Issue on the Automobile Industry & Sustainability reflect the diversity of environmental challenges and the range of academic treatments that the topic warrants. While the papers do not seek to be exhaustive in the treatment of the subject, they were carefully selected for their quality and relevance to the topic. They also represent an attempt to balance the variety of viewpoints that are important in treating this large and influential industry. This Special Issue is dedicated to the memory of Professor David M. Bates, a pioneer in the study of the automobile and its impact on American culture. He was an important contributor to this field of research and a tireless advocate for the improvement of safety on America’s roads. His dedication to this work and to the success of his students will be greatly missed. We hope that the reader will find this collection of papers informative and stimulating.