Automobiles are one of the most important inventions of modern times. They have had a profound impact on the history, economy, and social life of much of the world. Almost all modern societies have become structured around automobiles as the dominant means of transporting people over long distances. They are a symbol of the twentieth century and the primary vehicle aspired to by many middle-class people throughout the world, as well as a powerful tool for politicians seeking more electoral support. However, if demand for automobiles continues at its current high level, environmental and energy problems of a scale hitherto unseen promise to arise.
An automobile, or car, is a self-propelled motor vehicle designed to carry passengers over short distances on land. It is a highly sophisticated piece of machinery with thousands of moving parts. The design, arrangement, and choice of these parts depend on the intended use of the automobile. For example, automobiles built for off-road driving must have rugged systems that are capable of resisting severe overload and extreme operating conditions. Automobiles that are designed for highway use, on the other hand, must provide passengers with more comfort options and optimize their handling and high-speed performance.
The earliest automobiles were powered by steam engines and water turbines, but they soon became adapted to internal combustion. The development of the modern automobile as we know it was a remarkable engineering achievement, led by such figures as Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz, and Emile Levassor. The Model T was the first modern automobile that aligned advanced technology with affordable price, and it propelled Ford to global dominance of the industry by the 1920s.
Modern automobiles are powered by internal combustion engines that burn gasoline, a liquid petroleum fuel. They produce carbon dioxide and other pollutants when they burn, but these are reduced by the use of catalytic converters. Some cars also run on electricity generated by an electric generator, which produces no greenhouse gases or other pollutants.
Pros of Automobiles
Pros of Automobiles include the convenience and affordability they offer to their owners, as well as their ability to enable people to live and work in distant places without needing to rely on expensive rail or air transportation. They also allow people to visit relatives and friends more often, and to travel for business over longer distances.
Cons of Automobiles
The main disadvantage of the automobile is that it causes pollution, especially when too many are used in close proximity to each other. It can also reduce urban density, encouraging sprawl (i.e., squatter-type, low-density development that degrades landscapes). Other forms of public transportation, such as buses, trains, trams, and subways, are generally more environmentally friendly than automobiles, but they can take longer to get where people are going. Furthermore, most automobiles are not very efficient, so they consume a lot of fuel and emit a lot of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These emissions are partly responsible for climate change.