An automobile, also known as a car or motorcar, is a wheeled transportation vehicle that is powered by an engine. It is used mainly for passenger transport, and is the most common mode of road transportation in the world. Automobiles have four wheels and are propelled by an internal combustion engine that uses a fuel, most commonly gasoline, to create motion. Other types of automobiles exist, including hybrid electric vehicles that use both electricity and a conventional engine for power.

Automobiles are much faster and more convenient than walking or riding a bicycle for long distances. They can carry more people than a bicycle or a bus, and they can go places that are not accessible to other forms of transportation.

Having your own automobile can save you the time and expense of waiting for a ride from friends or relatives. It can also allow you to avoid traffic jams by taking alternate routes. If you need to make an appointment at a specific time, having your own car allows you to leave home when you want and to arrive on time.

The first automobiles were powered by steam engines attached to wagons in the late 18th century. Later, Siegfried Marcus developed a crude gas-powered engine that turned a crankshaft to power the vehicle’s wheels. In 1870, he built the first automobile to feature seats, steering and brakes, using a two-stroke engine fueled by gasoline. The first gas-powered automobiles had very slow speeds and were expensive to operate, but by the end of the 19th century they were becoming increasingly affordable.

In the early 1900s, automobile production expanded dramatically in the United States and in other parts of the world. The development of the assembly line enabled companies to produce many cars at once, which reduced costs and made them available to a wider range of people. Automobiles have many different shapes and sizes, designed for specific purposes. These include passenger (cars, buses), cargo, and special automobiles (emergency, fire, sanitary, mobile crane, and fork-lift trucks).

Today, the majority of automobiles are powered by internal combustion engines that burn gasoline or diesel fuel. They get energy from the vaporized chemical compounds in the fuel, which turns the crankshaft to move the wheels. They are usually regulated by carburetors, which adjust the amount of fuel to maintain proper engine operation and prevent over-fueling. They have a variety of safety systems, including airbags and seatbelts.

The value of having an automobile depends on where you live, how far you travel and whether public transportation is available. In densely populated areas, it may not be cost-effective to own an automobile, but in less-populated regions, it may be one of the most valuable possessions you own. As the article from Nature Sustainability reports, the population density of a region is inversely proportional to the value of having a car in that area. It can be a lifesaver in an emergency. The automobile also enables people to travel across the country and see new places.