Automobiles (American English) or automobile (French and German) are a type of vehicle propelled by an internal-combustion engine using fuel as the source of energy. Modern vehicles are a complex technical system, which consists of thousands of component parts, each designed to perform specific functions. The arrangement, choice and type of components can depend on the use and the design goals of the vehicle.

The term “automobile” refers to any four-wheeled road vehicle that is primarily used for passenger transportation and is propelled by an internal combustion engine, most commonly gas. However, other fuels, such as diesel, have also been used.

Generally, motorized vehicles can be divided into three categories: passenger cars, trucks and tempos, and special purpose vehicles such as ambulances or fire brigades. Each category of vehicle has different load-carrying capacities and uses a different number of wheels.

Many of the features that distinguish one automobile from another have been developed in response to technological advances, environmental regulations, safety legislation and competition among manufacturers. For example, the independent front suspension and rear axle systems of many new vehicles have become standard equipment and can make a dramatic difference in handling.

A large part of the world’s population is reliant on automobiles and trucks to travel for work or pleasure. The industry has had a major impact on our culture, economy, and environment.

Cars can cause enormous damage to the environment. They generate a lot of pollution and require a tremendous amount of energy to produce. They are also dangerous to wildlife and people.

As a result, we need to be very careful about how and where we choose to drive our cars. If you can, try to keep your trips short, reducing the number of miles that you drive and opting for fuel-efficient cars when possible.

The first automobiles were steam powered, but the introduction of gasoline-powered engines revolutionized the automotive industry. Karl Benz, in 1885, and Gottlieb Daimler, in 1886, were the first to build practical, gasoline-powered automobiles that would be used for commercial purposes.

Initially, automobile manufacturing tended to be small and specialized, with only a few companies developing significant volume production techniques. Most of the capital and technical expertise needed for new ventures were diverted to other industries, including machine shops and the bicycle and carriage trades.

In the early 1900s, as manufacturing capacity rose and the cost of a single, reliable automobile dropped, the automobile became an essential element of American life. By 1910, Americans had registered some 458,500 motor vehicles.

By 1914, a single manufacturer, Ford, produced more than half the cars on American roads. The success of this industry marked the beginning of an important shift away from the scarcity of goods to an affluent, industrialized economy.

During the Great Depression and through World War II, Americans relied on their automobiles to transport their goods and their families around the country. Although registrations and factory sales dwindled during those periods, American reliance on the automobile was never weakened. The automobile became a powerful cultural symbol, expressing the American dream of individualism and personal freedom while facilitating mobility and enabling American families to work and play together.