An automobile, also known as a car, is a wheeled motor vehicle used to transport passengers and operate on roads. Cars use internal combustion engines or electric motors to power the wheels and move the vehicle forward.

Cars allow people to travel long distances quickly and independently, opening up a variety of economic opportunities and lifestyle choices. They can be used to commute to work and other locations, shop and visit friends and family. Many suburban and rural areas are not within walking distance of stores, so owning a car is a necessity.

Automobiles have also brought new businesses and services such as hotels, restaurants and gas stations. They have also led to new laws and government requirements such as seat belts, highway speed limits and drivers’ licenses. And, automobiles have caused problems such as traffic accidents, air pollution and the loss of undeveloped land for highways and parking lots.

Cars are complex machines with thousands of parts working together. They require raw materials such as metals, fibers and glass. Economic, ecological and geopolitical changes influence the sourcing of these raw materials. They can also be a significant source of waste and energy, with the majority of the world’s cars using gasoline as their main fuel. This creates greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Drivers can help reduce their emissions by driving less and buying a more efficient car. They can also limit their use of fossil fuels by switching to clean electricity and hybrid vehicles.

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