Pros and Cons of Automobiles

Automobiles are motor vehicles that are self propelled or have an internal combustion engine fueled by a fuel such as gasoline. They are designed for passenger transportation on land, usually have four wheels and are built to carry only people. Compared to trucks, which are designed for the transportation of cargo and are constructed with larger parts, automobiles are simpler and more lightweight.

The automobile was first perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century by such inventors as Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz and Nicolaus Otto. The American Henry Ford innovated modern mass production techniques and produced the Model T runabout at a price affordable to middle-class Americans. As a result, American automakers led the world in automobile manufacturing through most of the twentieth century.

Aside from its practical uses, the automobile is a symbol of freedom and social mobility. Car ownership became virtually universal in the United States by the 1920s, as a result of which new industries and jobs developed to support the growth of a consumer-goods economy. The automobile spawned such industries as steel, petroleum and gas, rubber, and even plastics. It also caused many other ancillary businesses to develop such as garages and service stations.

Pros: Automobiles allow people to travel long distances and reach their destinations faster than other forms of transportation. They are convenient, comfortable and economical. Cons: Most cars are powered by gasoline, which emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Additionally, the maintenance and upkeep of a car can be expensive.

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