Automobiles are vehicles that use an engine or motor to move, rather than relying on horses or other external power. Usually, they have four wheels and seating for one to seven people. They are designed to run primarily on roads and are made in many different shapes, sizes and styles for different uses. Some examples include utility vehicles, sedans, station wagons and sports cars.
The automobile has had a great impact on society and culture. It has allowed individuals to travel farther and faster than walking or riding a bicycle, enabling them to reach places that would not be accessible by any other means of transportation. It also spawned new industries and services such as automobile manufacturing, parts suppliers and gas stations. In addition, it has influenced lifestyles, including changing the way families are organized and how individuals spend their free time.
Many people consider the automobile to be one of the greatest inventions in human history. While the exact date of its invention is unknown, it is generally agreed upon that the first true modern automobile was built by Karl Benz in 1885/1886. Benz’s vehicle used a 4-stroke internal combustion engine and was the first of its kind to be mass produced.
Initially, automobiles were powered by steam, electricity or a mixture of both. By the end of the 19th century, gasoline had largely replaced other fuels as the primary source of power for automobiles. Today, most automobiles burn either gasoline or diesel fuel. Some models are designed to run on more than one type of fuel — these are known as flex-fuel vehicles.
Most automobiles enclose the passenger area in a sealed space that is protected from weather and other outside elements. This helps to keep passengers comfortable and safe. The safety features of modern vehicles are a result of decades of research and development. These include seat belts, airbags and crumple zones. These features have helped to make driving safer and easier for many people.
While some people choose to use public transportation, others prefer the convenience of owning a car. They like the fact that they can get to where they need to be without having to worry about schedules or paying for tickets. Having a car also allows them to have more privacy, as they can avoid being surrounded by strangers in cramped busses.
Buying an automobile can also show potential lenders that you are responsible and can handle a major financial commitment, such as a mortgage. In addition, it can help you save money in the long run by cutting down on the amount of time spent running errands on foot or by public transportation. For instance, a trip to the dry cleaner and hardware store may take twice as long if you are forced to rely on public transportation for the trip. This can be costly, especially if you live in an area with poor public transport. If you own a car, you can make these trips in less than half the time.