Pros and Cons of Automobiles

Few inventions have had a greater impact on the world than the automobile. It’s so widely used that some people say modern life wouldn’t exist without it. The car has transformed personal and business life, spawned new industries and even changed the shape of cities and towns. But there are also a few drawbacks to the automobile and it’s important to weigh these before buying one.

What is an Automobile?

An automobile, or motorcar in British English, is a four-wheeled passenger vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine and fueled mostly by gasoline (petrol in American English). Modern cars are highly advanced technical systems with thousands of subsystems, including electrical systems, computers, high-strength plastics and new alloys of steel and other metals.

The automobile was first created in the 1800s. The earliest cars ran on steam, electric power or battery-powered energy. Steam engines were heavy and slow, but improved models allowed the car to go faster.

Henry Ford invented the modern mass production techniques that revolutionized automotive manufacturing. By 1910, his Model T was selling at a price less than the average annual salary. By 1920, the automobile had taken over the streets and highways of Europe and America.

Pros: Automobiles have opened up the world and made travel easy, convenient and affordable for most people. They have helped to create suburban lifestyles, and they’ve sparked recreational and tourism activities. They have helped create many jobs in industries such as hotels, restaurants and gas stations. They’ve ended rural isolation and brought urban amenities to rural areas, such as schools, medical care and industry. The construction of roads and highways has been one of the largest public works projects in history.

Cons: Most automobiles run on fuel, which produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. There are ways to limit this, but it will take changes in driving habits and public policy. Currently, the car is responsible for 27 percent of United States greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also not as environmentally friendly as walking or riding a bike.

The auto industry is a multibillion-dollar business. It’s also a source of controversy. Consumers have complained about nonfunctional styling and quality, safety issues and the automobile’s effect on the environment. During World War II automakers shifted their focus to military vehicles, but after the war concerns resurfaced about the automobile’s pollution and draining of world oil supplies.

In some places, the automobile has led to a decline in the use of bicycles and horses. Others have been concerned about its impact on traffic and congestion. Some people are worried about its increasing popularity in countries like China and India, where regulations on speed limits and licensing requirements have been relaxed. Still, others see the car as a symbol of freedom, and are willing to pay the extra cost for it. Whether you’re looking for an eco-friendly hybrid or a roaring V8, there’s probably a car out there that will meet your needs.