An automobile, also known as a motor car, is a motor vehicle for transportation. It has four wheels and is powered by an internal combustion engine that runs on a volatile fuel. The world’s most common cars are gasoline-powered, but they can also be powered by other fuels including electricity and propane.

The modern automobile has revolutionized the way that people travel. It has made it possible to commute long distances on a regular basis without having to take public transit or rely on friends for rides. In addition, cars have allowed people to explore different parts of a city or country that they might not have been able to reach on foot or with another type of transport.

In recent decades it has become almost impossible to imagine a life without an automobile, with more than three trillion miles (five trillion kilometers) being driven every year worldwide. The modern automotive industry is a huge business that employs millions of people and provides an important source of income for many nations.

Automobiles were first developed in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century by such men as Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz, and Nicolaus Otto. Benz is generally credited with creating the first true automobile in 1885 or 1886, although his initial car did not have seats, brakes, or steering. He later built a second motor car with these features, and both cars used engines of his own design.

When Henry Ford began producing his Model T in 1910, it became the first automobile to be mass-produced and affordable for middle class families. His factory at Highland Park, Michigan, innovated the concept of industrial manufacturing by implementing an assembly line to speed up production. The process also enabled him to reduce the price of his vehicles until they were affordable for working class Americans.

In America, as elsewhere in the world, the automobile served to validate and amplify a growing predilection for individual freedom of movement, action, and living. In addition, it helped to exacerbate the development of suburbia—a form of urbanization in which households are detached from commercial and cultural centers and surrounded by yards and green grass lawns.

Women have also used their cars to advance the cause of women’s rights. In 1916, two American women named Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out in their cars to campaign for the right to vote. They decorated their vehicles with “votes for women” banners and spoke to crowds along the way.

Despite the fact that the automobile has changed our society, it is still the best form of transport for many people. This is especially true in places like the United States, where more than 1.4 billion passenger cars are in use. Those cars are responsible for more than three trillion miles of travel each year, and the average family spends nearly three thousand dollars annually on automobile ownership and maintenance. This makes the auto industry one of the largest industries in the world.