Whether you throw around the term “automobile” or not, you can’t deny the fact that these vehicles have changed the way we think about transportation. They have created new industries and jobs, and they’ve also had a major impact on society. But they also pose health risks to the environment, cause air pollution, and contribute to climate change. The effects of automobiles on society are complex. And they can even be fatal.
The history of the automobile has been a long one. It started out as a bicycle-like contraption, but it eventually became a self-propelled vehicle. Its inventor, Edward Butler, built the first commercial three-wheeler in 1884. He used a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine, with a drive chain to the rear wheel. The three-wheeler was a response to a 19th-century dream of a self-propelling carriage.
After the invention of the internal combustion engine, the automobile industry grew rapidly during the early 20th century. It was one of the first industries to adopt the assembly line. Using an assembly line made it possible to produce cars more quickly and inexpensively.
During World War II, auto manufacturers focused on building the cars that would carry the nation’s war effort. They made one-fifth of the nation’s total war production. As the United States experienced a shortage of oil, the automobile industry opened its market to foreign countries. They also began making fuel-efficient small cars.
When the United States saw its economy grow, consumers were ready for an improved form of transportation. This led to an economic revolution. The demand for cars and other forms of land transportation increased significantly. By 1920, the number of registered drivers in the United States had tripled to 23 million.
As Americans started to drive more, traffic jams and accidents occurred. There was a need to develop better highways and mass transit systems. To meet the needs of the population, state and local governments funded highway design and construction. This created thousands of new jobs. And the automobile also provided an alternative to train and bus travel.
In the early years of the automobile, car parts were assembled by hand. In 1902, Henry Ford discovered that an assembly line could produce one model of car quickly and inexpensively. This meant that the average American could purchase a car at a fraction of the price of a decade before.
By the end of the twentieth century, the automotive industry had become a major contributor to the economy. The growth in the manufacturing sector resulted in lower prices for automobiles and access to them by middle-class families. It was also a catalyst for increased per capita income. During this time, a growing number of women gained the freedom to drive and participate in male-dominated jobs.
The automobiles of today are designed for passenger and goods transport. They typically have four to eight tires, and an internal combustion engine. They can also have sidecars. Depending on the type of vehicle, the body can range from a hood and a spoiler to a side skirt.