What Are Automobiles?
Automobiles are vehicles that carry people, usually for personal transportation. Cars, trucks, vans, buses, limousines, and motorcycles are automobiles. Automobiles can travel faster and farther than walking or riding a bicycle, and can often go where public transport cannot. They can also hold more passengers than bicycles or buses, and can haul larger loads. They are usually powered by a combustion of fuel, but some use electricity or a combination of energy sources.
Automobile manufacturers try to design their vehicles for a variety of uses, such as off-road driving or high-speed highway travel. These design requirements often influence how well the vehicle performs in a given environment, and how safe it is to operate. For example, off-road automobiles must have robust systems that can withstand extremes in operating conditions and mechanical overloads. They may be designed for passenger comfort and luggage space, or engine performance. The ability to withstand a crash or other sudden event is another important consideration.
Consumer Reports recently ranked brands of automobiles based on road test scores, reliability and owner satisfaction surveys, and safety results. BMW topped the list, but other brands were not far behind. Some brands, such as Subaru, are known for being economical to own and operate. Others, such as Mercedes and BMW, are known for their luxury features.
The scientific and technical building blocks for modern automobiles go back a few centuries. Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens invented a type of internal combustion engine sparked by gunpowder in the late 1600s. In the early 1800s, inventors worked hard to make these engines practical for cars. Some of them worked well, but most of them did not. In 1910, Henry Ford introduced his Model T and revolutionized automobile production. He made them affordable to many ordinary people, and they became very popular.
One of the main reasons that owning a car is important is that it provides a sense of freedom. Using public transportation puts you at the mercy of other drivers, and there is no guarantee that they will behave responsibly. An automobile gives you control over where you want to go and when, so you can plan your time and budget accordingly.
Most automobiles burn gasoline, but some run on diesel fuel or wood gas. Some can run on a mixture of fuels, such as gasoline and ethanol (called gasohol in Brazil and Sweden).
If you’re looking for an inexpensive used automobile, there are plenty of models to choose from. However, it’s best to look for a newer model that has been updated with current safety and technology features. You might want to consider a hybrid, which is good on fuel but can still offer an outlandish amount of driving range for those who hate having to stop to refuel.