Automobiles are wheeled vehicles that have seats for one or more people and use an engine to make them move. Most burn a fuel such as gasoline or diesel fuel, but some are powered by alternative energy sources like electricity. They have a steering wheel to help them turn and brakes to slow or stop them. Most also have an instrument panel with a dashboard to show information such as speed and fuel. The automobile is an important part of society and provides people with many benefits. It makes work, school, shopping and visiting friends easier by giving them access to fast transportation. It has also created new jobs, industries and services such as gas stations and convenience stores.
It is impossible to imagine modern life without the automobile. In the United States alone, 87 percent of households own a car. It has also spawned industries to supply parts and fuel for cars, and it has made it possible for people to travel farther and faster than ever before.
The automobile was invented in the late 1800s and perfected in Germany and France by engineers such as Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz. American businessman Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing techniques, making it possible to produce millions of automobiles and make them affordable for middle class families. By 1920, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler dominated the market. Today, the world produces billions of automobiles each year and they have become a major part of the economy and our daily lives.