Automobiles – A Key Component of Modern Society

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Automobiles are motor vehicles that travel on land and usually have four wheels. They are powered by an internal combustion engine fueled most often by gasoline, although diesel and electric engines are also used. They can carry a small number of people for personal transportation. They are a key component of the modern world and one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century.

The automobile revolutionized American society by providing people with greater personal freedom and opening new industries. It allowed for faster travel and the ability to connect with family and friends. It also sparked the development of suburban sprawl (low-density urban development that degrades the environment and imposes traffic congestion on the automobiles themselves).

In the late 20th century, market saturation coupled with technological stagnation slowed production of cars. Questions arose about the quality and safety of domestically made automobiles, along with nonfunctional designs and accusations that they are “gas guzzlers.” This opened the market to imported automobiles from Germany and Japan.


Owning an automobile gives families the ability to go where they want, when they want without having to wait for public transportation or rely on others for ride sharing. It also provides a sense of security for children traveling to and from school and activities.