An automobile is a four-wheeled motor vehicle for personal transportation. Its internal combustion engine is fueled most often by gasoline (petrol), but it can also be powered by diesel fuel, electricity, or any other liquid petroleum product. The automobile can carry many people and cover long distances in relative comfort. Its convenience allows people to work and shop more conveniently than they could without a car, and it offers a more flexible lifestyle than public transportation.
The automobile was invented and perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the 19th century. In the United States, cheap raw materials and a tradition of industrial manufacturing encouraged the expansion of car companies. Henry Ford innovated the assembly line to speed production, lowering the price of his Model T until it became affordable for middle-class families. The United States became the world’s leader in auto production by 1920.
In the early 2000s, Americans drove three trillion miles annually (five trillion kilometres). Today it is difficult to imagine how one would get around without an automobile. Most people rely on them for daily commutes, shopping trips, and family vacations. There are hundreds of automobile models in existence, and the automotive industry employs thousands of workers worldwide.
Having a car means that you can go where you want to go on your own time, and not be tied down to the schedules of buses or trains. It saves time and money, and it eliminates the possibility of being late for important meetings or events. It also gives you more freedom to travel in any weather. But if you’re not careful, the automobile can be dangerous for you and other drivers.