The Benefits and Disadvantages of Automobiles
A car is an essential part of modern life, but it can also be a major source of stress. It provides the freedom to travel without relying on public buses or friends, and gives drivers privacy when they are alone in their cars. Its many benefits, however, come at a cost: Automobiles have been linked to high levels of pollution, are costly to maintain and operate, and require the use of fossil fuels.
Invented and perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the 1800s, the automobile soon became the dominant form of personal transportation in the United States as well. The internal combustion engine made the automobile more efficient and powerful than steam or electric vehicles, which were expensive and had limited range and recharging stations. By the 1920s, Ford innovated mass-production techniques that made it possible for middle-class families to afford their own cars.
The automobile caused significant changes for industry, technology, and everyday life in the United States and other countries. New industries developed to produce gasoline and automotive parts. Services such as gas stations and restaurants sprang up to serve the needs of automobile owners. Government regulations were imposed to reduce the number of traffic accidents, and highways were built to accommodate the growing volume of automobiles.
Today, most vehicles have been designed with a focus on improving vehicle safety and performance. The best cars have features that make them safer, faster, easier to handle, keep occupants more secure and comfortable, and provide great fuel economy.