Automobiles are wheeled motor vehicles that are used for transporting passengers. They are usually designed to run primarily on roads and can carry one to eight people. Most automobiles are powered by internal combustion engines fueled with gasoline or another petroleum product, but some are powered by electricity. They can also be powered by other sources such as natural gas or alternative fuels. The car’s body carries the engine and passengers, provides storage space, and determines the vehicle’s aerodynamics, safety, and appearance.

The automobile revolutionized the world, giving people more freedom and changing the way we live. It has created jobs, industries, and services like gas stations. However, it has caused problems such as air pollution, which affects humans and wildlife. It has also led to an increase in traffic and congestion. In addition, it has contributed to the greenhouse effect by consuming excessive fossil fuels.

The modern automobile is the result of many scientific and technological developments. In the early 1900s, many manufacturers were competing to create the best model. Some of the most important inventions include the electric ignition, independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes. Several companies started as other kinds of businesses before becoming car manufacturers, such as the Ford Motor Company, which began as a loom factory. Others, such as the Toyota Motor Corporation and Nissan, started as bicycle manufacturers.

The design of an automobile depends largely on its intended use. For example, a family SUV may need to have spacious seating and ample cargo space, while a racing car requires high performance and optimized handling. The stability of an automobile is determined by the weight distribution, center of gravity, and the number of wheels and tires.

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