A Car Is a Vehicle That Has a Motor and An Engine to Transport People and Things Around. Cars have revolutionized the way people live and work. There are over 1.4 billion cars in operation worldwide. People spend about three trillion miles in them each year. It would be very difficult to do most of the things that we do in today’s world without a car.
The scientific and technical building blocks for the automobile go back a few hundred years. In the late 1600s Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens invented a type of internal combustion engine fueled by gunpowder that could power machinery. The first self-propelled vehicles were steam powered, such as Oliver Evans’ 1804 steam-powered “Amphibious Digger.” He converted a harbor dredge scow into a land vehicle by attaching wheels to it. He also built a paddle wheel to be used in water.
In the 1900s, Emile Levassor and Armand Peugeot of France produced vehicles with Daimler engines. These and Henry Ford’s innovations led to mass production and the dominance of American manufacturers like Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. These companies financed the development of war machines during World War I and the U.S. economy boomed through the 1920s.
After World War II, America began exporting more and more cars to Europe and Japan. But as time went on, American automakers began to fall behind the Japanese in engineering and quality. During the postwar period, engineering was subordinated to nonfunctional styling and the annual reshaping of road cruisers to meet new federal standards for safety, emissions, and energy consumption.
By the 1980s, car ownership was almost universal in America and the automobile dominated modern life. It was a very different society, with more people doing more in their leisure time, traveling farther distances, and having less need for personal contact.
The automobile changed the lives of many people in America, especially those who were unable to walk or ride bikes. Having a car enabled them to get to work, take their children to school, and travel to family, friends, and vacation destinations. People who didn’t own a car could only visit places nearby and on public transportation, such as buses and trains.
People with cars could also buy more goods and services, which stimulated the economy. They could also get jobs in more places and have more choices for recreation, such as going to the movies or shopping.
In some parts of the country, the automobile was a symbol of freedom and opportunity. For example, in the 1910s and 1920s, there was a push for women to vote, and some women drove around with “votes for women” banners on their cars. Having a car also gave people more personal space and allowed them to avoid other people’s germs while riding in crowded buses. In addition, it allowed them to spend more time with their families. It also gave them the ability to move from city life to rural areas or vice versa without losing access to their jobs, schools, and doctors’ offices.