The automobile, also known as a motor car, is a wheeled passenger vehicle that can be propelled by its own engine. Automobiles are an important part of modern life and they have made significant contributions to the economy, culture and society. They are an essential mode of transportation in countries with developed infrastructure and provide individuals with freedom of movement that is not possible with other modes of transport. In addition to being an important means of personal transportation, the automobile is also used for transporting goods and people. The automotive industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the world and it has many spin-off effects that benefit society such as the development of roads, new industries such as rubber and oil production, and services such as gas stations and convenience stores.
The invention of the automobile triggered an economic revolution in America and around the world. Industries such as auto manufacturing grew rapidly, as did roads and other related infrastructure. Services such as gas stations and convenience stores sprang up to serve the needs of automobile drivers. In addition, people who previously walked or rode horses became able to travel greater distances, and businesses such as hotels and restaurants were able to expand their customer base.
While the advantages of the automobile are numerous, it is important to consider its disadvantages as well. The greatest concern is the environmental impact caused by cars. Most cars run on gasoline, which releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The emission of carbon dioxide causes air pollution and climate change, and automobiles are responsible for 27 percent of all greenhouse gases in the United States.
In addition, driving can be dangerous. Although public transit is usually safe, accidents can occur, and traffic jams can prevent people from getting where they need to go on time. Lastly, the cost of owning and maintaining a car can be a strain on the budget. From the initial purchase price to insurance premiums, maintenance costs and fuel expenses can add up quickly.
The automobile has transformed North American life and shaped the character of the country in many ways. It is difficult to imagine a society without automobiles, but it is not impossible to think about a future in which the automobile no longer plays a progressive role. The era of the automobile is slowly fading as new forces, such as electronic media, the laser and the computer, emerge. The automobile is a symbol and a reality of privatization; it represents and reflects our desire for fantasy and escape. However, we must not forget that the automobile has also become a barrier to our freedom of expression. The automobile may be a shibboleth of privatization, but it can also be an instrument of liberation.