A Brief History of Automobiles
An automobile, also known as a car or auto is a wheeled vehicle that is powered by an internal combustion engine and used principally for the transport of people. It is usually designed to run primarily on roads and to have seating for one to six people. Automobiles are classified as mobile vehicles because they move easily from place to place without being towed or hauled.
Having an automobile opens up many possibilities for families. It allows for parents to drop off and pick up children from school, and it offers families the convenience of going out to dinner or to the movies. It can help a family stay in touch with friends and relatives who live far away. And owning a car comes with a sense of prestige that can’t be measured in dollars.
The development of the automobile has had a profound effect on society, both in terms of industry and technology as well as on everyday life. It has created jobs in the manufacture of cars and their parts, fuel, tires and services like gas stations. It has changed the way we live, work and socialize. It has allowed for greater mobility and access to information and it has helped make the world a smaller place.
Automobiles have become a symbol of freedom and a status symbol in the United States. In the early 20th century, the American automobile manufacturing industry exploded with new firms producing innovative models that offered moderate prices and low operating expenses. The result was a great seller’s market for automobiles.
The success of the new firms was due to a number of factors. America’s vast land area ensured that there would be a great demand for automotive transportation. Cheap raw materials made it possible to produce large numbers of cars at lower costs than in Europe. And the absence of tariff barriers encouraged sales over a wide geographic area.
During this period, the development of the assembly line revolutionized car production. This process enabled a single worker to perform a repetitive task while parts were placed in sequence on a conveyor belt. This reduced labor costs and speeded up production. Other innovations during this time included the self-starting engine, steel bodies and heaters.
Today, the automobile is a ubiquitous sight on our nation’s highways. There are over 590 million passenger cars in operation worldwide (one for every eleven people). Most of these are driven by individuals who need to get from one point to another, but a few are equipped for more specialized use. These special automobiles include police cars, fire engines, ambulances and tow trucks for disabled or inoperable vehicles. These special automobiles require sophisticated engineering and design for safe and secure operations on the road. In addition, automobiles are heavily dependent on fossil fuels, which need to be extracted and refined using energy-intensive processes that degrade the environment and strain dwindling petroleum reserves. This creates a nexus between economic prosperity and environmental degradation, which affects everyone in society.