Automobiles are the self-propelled motor vehicles that we use for passenger transportation on land. They usually have four wheels and an internal combustion engine that is fueled by petroleum products such as gasoline. They are one of the most common and universal of modern technologies and are manufactured by one of the largest industries in the world. The branches of engineering that deal with the manufacture and technology of automobiles are known as automotive engineering.
The automobile revolutionized our lives by providing people with the freedom to move about their towns and cities on their own. It also created new jobs and industries as the demand for gasoline, tires, rubber, and other materials grew. Many communities also developed suburbs as more and more families moved out of the city. This change was seen as a form of flight and even of social distancing, as individuals were no longer tied to a local community.
Some of the earliest automobiles were powered by steam, but they were slow and had limited range. In the late 1860s, Siegfried Marcus designed and built the first petrol-powered automobile. It had a two-stroke internal combustion engine and was fueled by gasoline.
Today, most of us cannot imagine living without the automobile. Cars are essential for going to work and school, running errands, visiting family and friends, and traveling. They also allow us to have more independence and privacy than we would otherwise have if we were dependent on public transportation.