Automobiles are self-propelled motor vehicles that carry passengers and freight over land. Usually having four wheels, they are powered by an internal combustion engine that is fueled most often by gasoline (a liquid petroleum product). They are among the most widely used of modern technology’s major inventions.
An automobile is a complicated technical system comprising numerous subsystems that have specific design functions. These include the chassis, body, power train, electrical systems, engine, drive, control systems, safety devices and other equipment. Research and development engineers continuously improve these components to enhance vehicle performance and safety, increase fuel economy, and lower manufacturing costs.
OPENS UP THE WORLD: One of the biggest advantages of owning an automobile is the ability to cover large distances quickly and easily. This allows a person to choose where they want to live in relation to their job, and increases the number of potential social contacts within their circle of friends and acquaintances.
It also opens up new possibilities for recreational activities such as traveling, shopping, and visiting friends and family. This makes automobiles a very important part of America’s culture.
AUTOMOBILITY IS AN ECONOMICAL FORCE: The car revolutionized American society by providing access to jobs, places to live, and services. This led to an explosion of leisure activities and created new industries like hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, and fast food. However, the automobile was not without drawbacks. It brought harm to the environment through exhaust emissions and by consuming valuable undeveloped land for highways and related industries. It also resulted in traffic accidents and deaths, requiring new laws for driving safety features, licensure, and highway rules.
FORD’S IMPRESSIVE IMPACT: After Karl Benz invented the first gas-powered automobile in 1885, Henry Ford began to mass produce them to make them affordable for the average working class. By 1910, Ford had introduced the revolutionary assembly line for making cars at an unprecedented rate. Ford paid his workers $5 a day, more than twice the average annual wage of Americans at that time.
END OF THE AUTHENTIC EPOCH: The era of the annually restyled, big-bucks American car came to an end with the imposition of federal standards for automobile safety and environmental pollution; the escalation of gasoline prices following oil shocks in 1973 and 1979; questions about the sustainability of the world’s oil supply; and the penetration of U.S. and international markets by Japanese manufacturers with functionally designed, well-built, fuel-efficient cars.
IN THE FUTURE: As the automotive industry continues to innovate, we’ll build safer, more fuel-efficient, smarter vehicles that redefine personal transportation and open up new opportunities for our people and communities. Our cutting-edge plants employ thousands of hardworking Americans, and our transportation infrastructure is the backbone for shipping finished products around the country and to customers in over 100 countries.
A robust auto industry is vital to a healthy United States economy. That’s why we support policies that help manufacturers continue to create high-paying jobs in our communities.