An automobile, or car, is a motor vehicle that has four wheels and is designed to carry passengers. It is powered by a motor that uses gasoline, diesel fuel or kerosene to create energy. This energy makes the pistons in a engine move, which in turn makes the wheels turn. Automobiles can also be electric or solar powered.

The first automobiles were invented in the 19 th century. German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz both built cars in the early 1900s. By 1920, gas-powered cars had replaced steam and horse carriages on the streets of Europe and America. The development of the Model T made automobiles affordable for middle-class families. In the USA, Henry Ford introduced the use of an assembly line, where workers do one task at a time and parts for a car pass on a conveyor belt between stations. This revolutionized manufacturing and brought the automobile within reach of millions of people.

Automobiles are faster than walking or riding a bike over long distances and can carry more luggage. They can also go where other vehicles cannot (off road). In urban areas, they make it possible to avoid having to rely on public transport or taxis.

Most cars run on a mix of gasoline and lubricants to power their internal combustion engines, which convert the fuel into energy to move the car. Modern automobiles are complex machines with many different systems that work together to power the car, control it and provide comfort for the passengers.

Besides passenger cars, there are also special automobiles for cargo or other purposes like crane vehicles, road rollers or fork-lifts in factories and warehouses and emergency cars for fire and ambulances. Some countries have laws that require all cars to have safety features, such as seat belts or child seats.

The automotive industry has helped drive the growth of cities, where a good portion of the population lives. It has also contributed to suburbanization, where people move out of city centers and build houses in the outskirts with large yards. It is difficult to imagine how people lived without cars in the past, but today they are a vital part of everyday life. Without them, a commute to work could take much longer, shopping would be more difficult and visiting friends or family who live a long distance away would not be easy. In addition, there is a growing awareness of the environment and health issues associated with air pollution from automobiles. Some research is focused on developing alternative forms of energy such as electric power or hydrogen fuel cells. This can be a more environmentally friendly and sustainable option than petroleum-based fuels. It may also reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Some companies are even producing cars that run on ethanol, which is made from corn. This is a more domestic and renewable source of fuel, but still has some problems with its availability and cost. A hybrid electric vehicle can use both sources of power, which helps solve some of these issues.