An automobile is a self-propelled vehicle that travels on land and typically has four wheels. It is powered by an internal combustion engine that uses gasoline or another fuel for operation. The automobile revolutionized society by allowing people to move from one place to another without having to rely on horses or other human power. It also allowed people to travel for leisure activities rather than work. Several inventors contributed to the development of the automobile, but Karl Benz is often credited with inventing the first one.
The automobile became a mainstay of modern life as it overtook the streets and highways of Europe and America in the early 1900s. Engineers like Henry Ford developed innovations that greatly increased production, and they allowed automobiles to become affordable for middle-class families. By the end of the 1920s, a car was an essential tool for getting around in urban areas.
Automobiles are not only a major source of transportation for the population in most countries, but they are also an economic force that spurs growth and innovation. In the United States, for example, car manufacturing is a major industry, with the top three automakers—Ford, General Motors and Chrysler—producing more than half of all cars in the country.
While the invention of the automobile has had many positive impacts on society, it is not without its negative effects. For example, the emissions from automobiles are a major cause of air pollution and climate change. They are also a drain on the Earth’s dwindling supplies of fossil fuels. They are also a significant cause of traffic congestion.
The automobile has been a catalyst for new industries that provide services and products to travelers, including hotels, restaurants and rental car agencies. It is also a source of entertainment for people who watch racing or other sports events, and it is an important part of the American economy. In addition, the automobile has helped create more jobs than any other business in the country.
Today, there are more than 90 million automobiles on the road. Most of these vehicles are powered by gasoline, but electric and hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular. Consumer Reports recently named the Nissan Sentra sedan, Rogue Sport subcompact crossover and Toyota Prius Hybrid as the best vehicles in their respective segments. The organization also gave high marks to the Kia Telluride three-row SUV, Tesla Model X electric vehicle and Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid for their fuel efficiency. The organization also recommended the Honda Accord midsize sedan and Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup truck in their respective categories. It also liked the Subaru Forester SUV and Nissan Murano crossover in the $25,000 to $35,000 category. The research organization did not recommend any vehicles in the $45,000 to $55,000 segment, though it did give positive reviews for the Volkswagen Passat sedan and Lexus IS convertible. For more information, visit the website of Consumer Reports. The company’s mission is to help consumers make informed buying decisions and save money.