An automobile, or car, is a wheeled motor vehicle that runs on roads and can carry passengers and cargo. It is one of the most common modern technologies, and it can be found in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles to suit many different purposes. The most common type of automobile is the internal combustion gasoline-powered car, although hybrid and electric vehicles are also popular.
Automobiles have brought about huge changes in American society, both technologically and socially. Industries like rubber, plastics, and petroleum products developed to supply the increasing demand for the parts needed for automotive production. Workers gained jobs in automobile manufacturing plants and at gas stations, while new jobs were created to design and build highways. In addition, families were able to enjoy family vacations by driving long distances to places that could only be reached before with a horse-drawn carriage or train.
The first automobiles were powered by steam or electricity. These were built as early as the late 1700s and 1800s, but they had several disadvantages: They were heavy, slow, and required water to be heated in order to travel. Eventually manufacturers moved to using gas to power their cars, which had an advantage over steam in that they could run at high speeds.
Today, there are more types of cars available than ever before. Some are fading away, like minivans and convertibles, but others are growing in popularity, including SUVs of all sizes, and even electric-powered models that use a combination of gas and electrical energy.