Automobiles are one of the most important inventions of modern times. They are used everywhere in the world and provide people with a way to get around. Many people rely on cars for work or school. Automobiles also help people to avoid being stuck in traffic. Having a car means not having to depend on public transportation or being subjected to other people’s hygiene issues in a crowded bus. It’s hard to imagine life without automobiles now.
The scientific and technical building blocks for the modern automobile started to develop in the late 1600s. Christiaan Huygens invented a type of internal combustion engine that was sparked by gunpowder. By the end of the 1800s, there were steam, electric, and gasoline-powered vehicles. But it was Karl Benz who is most widely credited with inventing the modern automobile. His Benz Patent-Motorwagen used a four-stroke type of internal combustion engine that was fueled by gasoline in 1885/1886. He started to make and sell automobiles.
Today there are about 1.4 billion passenger automobiles in use around the world. In the United States, more than three trillion miles (five trillion kilometres) are driven each year. Automobiles have brought many changes to society, including new jobs and industries related to their manufacturing and the services such as gas stations. They have also changed lifestyles, giving people personal freedom and allowing them to travel far from home.
The word “automobile” is derived from the French auto- + mobile, which means motor vehicle. The word is usually used to describe four-wheeled vehicles that are designed for the transport of passengers, although larger vehicles like buses and limousines are sometimes called automobiles too.