Automobiles (also known as cars) are motor vehicles used for transporting passengers. They are generally powered by internal combustion engines and have four wheels, although they can be found in many different shapes, sizes and styles. Most automobiles use gasoline or diesel fuel, but they can also run on natural gas, electricity, hydrogen, etc. Automobiles were first invented and perfected in the late 1800s, but they didn’t become widely available until the early 1900s. The first mass-produced car was the Model T, begun in 1908.

An automobile can be driven by a human operator or a computer-driven robot. A driver’s job is to operate the vehicle and navigate through traffic while obeying the rules of the road. Many people enjoy the freedom and convenience that an automobile provides, allowing them to travel to work, school and other places. Automobiles can travel much faster than walking or riding a bicycle, and they can carry more cargo. They can also go where it is impossible for other wheeled transport to travel due to bad roads or terrain.

In 2005, 63 million various automobiles were produced worldwide. The majority of the cars produced are in North America, followed by Japan and Western Europe. China, MERCOSUR, India and Russia are also major producers of cars. The United States has the most cars per capita of any country in the world.

Until the mid-1900s, most of the development of the modern automobile was done by small manufacturers competing against each other. The introduction of mass production, a concept introduced by Henry Ford, led to the big three American automakers—Ford, General Motors and Chrysler—dominating the industry. After the world wars, the demand for automobiles greatly increased and manufacturers were forced to add features like power steering and brakes. The bigger and heavier cars of this era required more fuel than the smaller models did, which resulted in a huge increase in world oil consumption. The resulting shortage of oil caused the price of gasoline to skyrocket in the 1970s, spurring a movement towards more efficient, compact automobiles.

The automotive industry has been plagued with accidents, environmental concerns, and safety issues. Despite these challenges, the automobile is still one of the most important modes of transportation in the world. The automotive industry is a major part of the global economy and it continues to grow as more countries develop economically and have access to affordable cars.

The automobile is named from the French term auto-mobile, which means “self-moving”. It is an amalgam of the Greek prefix ‘auto’ (“self”) and the Latin word’mobilis’ (moving). The first true automobile was built by Karl Benz in 1885, but it was expensive and not practical for everyday use. Several other inventors worked on similar concepts at the same time, but they were not successful in building a commercially viable car. The success of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen and the Ford Model T helped to popularize the automobile, and by the 1920s, cars had become a common sight on the streets of most cities.