Automobiles are the means of transportation used by people to travel long distances. Modern automobiles are powered by gasoline or another fuel and have four to eight wheels and a passenger compartment. Most have an engine that uses chemical energy (such as that found in gasoline) or electrical energy stored in batteries to convert to mechanical energy that turns the wheels of the car.
The automobile revolutionized society, giving people more freedom to travel and explore their surroundings without relying on public transportation schedules or routes. It also spawned new industries and businesses to support the manufacture of automobiles and their parts, as well as the development of services such as gas stations and convenience stores.
In the United States, cheap raw materials and a tradition of mass production made it possible for automobile manufacturers to offer cars at more reasonable prices than in Europe. American firms such as Ford and General Motors quickly dominated the industry, and by 1920, most families could afford an automobile.
Today, it is hard to imagine a world without cars. They are a vital part of our daily lives and enable us to travel farther and faster than ever before. However, they are not without their downsides. For example, driving an automobile can be stressful and frustrating when you encounter traffic jams or a sudden road closure. In addition, the high cost of gasoline and maintenance work can add up. Nevertheless, the benefits of having your own car outweigh these drawbacks.