Automobiles and the Environment

An automobile is a wheeled passenger vehicle with four wheels and an engine or motor to make it move. It can be powered by gasoline, diesel, kerosene, hydrogen or electricity. Its body is enclosed in a frame which is attached to the chassis, and the vehicle’s suspension is designed to allow it to ride over rough or smooth surfaces. Its power is transmitted from the engine to the driving wheels through a transmission system. A car’s engine usually burns fossil fuels such as petroleum (oil), natural gas or coal to produce energy that drives the wheels. The exhaust gases from these fuels are a major source of air pollution, and the global use of fossil fuels is contributing to climate change. The development of alternative fuel engines is one of the challenges to automobile manufacturers.

Karl Benz, an engineer from Germany, invented the first automobile around 1885. Other inventors and engineers followed with different designs. From about 1910 to 1927, the majority of cars in the world were produced by Ford, whose manufacturing techniques enabled it to produce the Model T at low cost, making automobiles available for middle class families. This revolutionized society. It allowed people to travel long distances, which enlarged their work opportunities and social circles. It also meant that farmers could visit urban areas to sell their products.

During the early 1900s, women began to own cars and drive. This was a huge change for American society. Women were able to drive to work, run errands and even vote. Women’s automobile ownership helped to push for women’s rights and paved the way for the 19th Amendment.

Today’s automobiles are manufactured in factories in many countries of the world. There are several important factors in automobile production, including a high level of technological sophistication and the availability of skilled labor at reasonable wages. Automobiles require a significant amount of raw materials to build, and many are made from steel, iron, plastics, rubber and other substances. The automotive industry contributes to the economy of many countries in the world through job creation and export earnings.

The use of automobiles is a major concern for environmental scientists. Its production, operation and disposal contribute to the air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Automobiles are also responsible for large amounts of road congestion and traffic accidents. To reduce these problems, governments and automakers are developing new types of automobiles that are more fuel efficient, have fewer accidents, and use alternative sources of energy for power. Some of these are already on the market, and others are in development. The automobile has become the most common form of transportation in the world, with an estimated 59 million different vehicles produced annually.