Automobiles are vehicles designed to transport people, usually with four wheels and a seating capacity for one to eight people. Depending on definition, automobiles may include cars, vans, trucks, SUVs and other large vehicles. Most of these machines are powered by fossil fuels, and the development of automobiles has had a profound impact on human society, changing lifestyles and creating new industries.
The scientific and technical building blocks of the modern automobile date back several centuries. Leonardo da Vinci drafted theoretical plans for such a machine in the 16th century, and French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built the first steam-powered car in 1769. Gasoline-powered cars became popular in the United States after the turn of the 20th century, and Ford introduced mass production techniques that helped him dominate the market.
In the early decades of the 20th century, people could afford to purchase their own automobiles, allowing them more freedom and time for leisure activities. The advent of the automobile also opened up the country to a greater variety of travel destinations, enabling people living in cities to escape to rural areas, and for people living in the countryside to visit urban areas.
SAVES TIME: Time is a precious resource, and when you have to rely on others or public transportation, your schedule can become heavily dependent on other people. Having your own car means that you can save yourself the trouble of having to plan ahead and wait around for others to show up to get you where you need to go, and it gives you the freedom to decide how quickly or slowly you want to make a trip.
OPENS UP THE WORLD: Owning a car makes it much easier to travel long distances, opening up job opportunities in other parts of the country or even in different countries. It also allows you to explore more of the natural beauty and wildlife that surrounds us. Having the freedom to travel opens up your world, giving you more options for where you can live and who you can include in your social circle.
THE FUTURE OF THE CAR: The future of the automobile is highly uncertain. With oil supplies dwindling, rising fuel prices and environmental concerns are driving consumer interest in electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. Manufacturers are also working hard to develop more efficient engines and drive systems that will cut emissions and use less fuel.
Regardless of the future of the automobile, one thing is for sure: people will always want to be mobile and have access to reliable, safe and comfortable transportation. Whether you’re looking for a compact sedan, a roomy minivan or an SUV, the 2022 model year has something for everyone. The Subaru Crosstrek is the bestselling model in this category, with sales up 22 percent over last year. This small, rugged crossover is based on the Impreza hatchback and offers the same versatility as the larger Outback Sport models, plus all-wheel drive for off-road adventures.