Automobiles are a part of our daily lives. They bring us to work, give us the ability to travel across town, and allow us to visit friends. They also help with the development of new industries such as hotels and restaurants, amusement parks, and fast food chains. However, they have also brought harm to the environment by polluting our air with exhaust fumes and draining our world’s oil supplies. This has led to the creation of laws and government requirements like seatbelts, highway rules, and driver’s licenses. The automobile has greatly changed our world and will continue to change it for the better or worse as we move into the future.
The scientific and technical building blocks of the modern car go back several hundred years. In the late 1600s Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens invented a type of internal combustion engine sparked by gunpowder. The first automobiles were steam powered, but had limited speed and range. They later evolved into battery-powered electric vehicles, which had a 38 percent share of the United States market in 1900. However, these cars had to be recharged every few miles and recharging stations were scarce. Finally, gas-powered engines became the most popular option for automobiles.
By the 1920s, Ford, GM, and Chrysler dominated the automotive industry with their mass production techniques and affordable prices. This revolutionized American life by allowing middle class families to afford an automobile, and opened up many new opportunities for leisure activities, such as traveling to beaches and amusement parks, by car.
As the industry developed, cars became easier to operate and more comfortable. For example, heaters and windows became standard features in most models. During the 1930s steel body construction became common. By the 1940s power steering and brakes became available in most models. After World War II, new innovations included air conditioning and electronic ignition systems.
The automobile has brought people a sense of independence and freedom. It allowed them to travel without being tied down to a bus schedule, or having to ask friends for rides. It also enabled them to shop and run errands more efficiently than if they had to depend on public transportation.
While some car companies have traded athleticism for comfort and convenience, others have kept a balance between the two. The BMW 7 Series is the prime example of a big luxury sedan that offers both buttery ride comfort and agile driving dynamics. The Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS, on the other hand, focus more on comfort than agility. The Genesis G90, a newcomer to the market, is another example of a balanced car that blends comfort with sporty handling. The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are other examples of dependable compact options that offer good fuel economy and passenger space.