Automobiles are powered by internal combustion and have a number of systems that make them work, drive and move on the road. The engines produce the power that turns the wheels and the electricity for the lights. They also control and steer the cars. Many people have jobs in factories that make cars or at restaurants or motels where travelers stop. There are also millions of people who use their cars to get to work, school or social events. Cars help the world economy by giving people the ability to travel farther than they could on foot or horseback. They also give people the opportunity to spend more time with their families. Cars have some disadvantages though. They can kill people in accidents and cause air pollution. They can also be difficult to park when there are a lot of them in the same place.

In 2005 there were 63 million automobiles produced worldwide. Most of them were made in North America and Europe. In the United States about a quarter were made by Ford. The other big producers are Japan, Germany and China. There are some other smaller countries that make a few million each.

The first true automobile was built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot of France in 1769. It was a three-wheeled machine that used steam to get moving. Other manufacturers produced steam-powered cars in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These cars were heavy and moved slowly. They were powered by external combustion and required water to be heated before they could move.

Karl Benz of Germany invented the modern automobile in 1886 with his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. This was the first car to be produced in a factory and sold to customers. Car production became a global industry after that. The demand for automobiles in the developed world has been driven by the need to travel long distances to jobs, schools and social activities. The cars are also needed for hauling goods. The development of the automobile has been accelerated by the availability of cheap raw materials and the absence of tariff barriers between states.

Most automobiles are powered by gasoline. This fuel has a high carbon dioxide content which is a greenhouse gas. In the future, people might switch to electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles that do not emit greenhouse gases.

Automakers are constantly working to improve the performance and safety of their products. They are also trying to find ways to reduce the amount of gasoline they use.

Some people think that computers will eventually be able to drive the cars for us. This will allow them to go faster and avoid traffic jams. It will also save on labor costs and make the cars safer for passengers. The computerized automobiles may even be able to steer themselves along the highways without the need for human intervention. Until then we need to be careful when driving on the highways. We need to watch out for other drivers, especially when passing other cars. We also need to keep our cars in good repair and make sure that we have enough parking space when we need it.

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