How Automobiles Have Changed the Lives of People Around the World


Automobiles have changed the lives of people around the world in ways few inventions have. Modern life would be virtually inconceivable without them. Automobiles enable people to travel long distances quickly and easily, connecting cities, towns, and rural areas in a way never before possible. They have shaped urban design, and they have fueled the growth of new businesses, including gas stations, hotels, and amusement parks. In the United States alone, cars and trucks cover about three trillion miles (five trillion kilometers) each year.

Automobiles are wheeled vehicles that carry their own motors and are constructed primarily for the transport of people rather than goods. Various definitions of automobiles exist, but most specify that they are designed to run primarily on roads, have seating for one to eight people, typically have four wheels, and be powered by an internal combustion engine.

Most automobiles use gasoline or diesel fuel to power the internal combustion engines that turn chemical energy into mechanical energy that moves the vehicle over land. Some automobiles also store electrical energy in batteries, which can then send it to the engine for additional propulsion if needed. The rate at which the engine or battery converts chemical energy into mechanical motion is called its power and is measured in kilowatts or horsepower.

Although the technology for the automobile existed well before the end of the 19th century, it took Henry Ford to make it affordable to middle-class Americans. His innovation of the assembly line allowed manufacturers to produce many cars very inexpensively. The price of his Model T was less than half the average annual wage in the United States at that time.

As the automobile became a key force in American economic and social change, it also fueled the development of ancillary industries, such as steel and petroleum. It also shaped government services such as police and fire departments, highways, and public transportation systems. In addition, the automobile has become a major source of pleasure and excitement for many people.


The most important advantage of automobiles is that they provide easy access to faraway locations. Without them, people would have to take buses or trains or hitch rides in order to reach their destinations. This makes it easier to visit friends and family, and allows people to expand their professional network. Having an automobile also means that people can move to where there are more job opportunities, and have more choices about how they live their lives in relation to their jobs.


Another big advantage of automobiles is that they allow people to save time by travelling at their own pace. With a car, people can choose whether to travel on highways or main streets and make detours as they see fit. This freedom of movement enables them to get to work or school when it is convenient, instead of having to be at certain times to meet bus or train schedules. Moreover, it is much easier to do shopping and other chores when driving an automobile.