Automobiles are vehicles for transporting people or cargo on land. A modern automobile is powered by an internal combustion engine, usually fueled by gasoline (petrol), but sometimes by other liquid petroleum fuels like diesel or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Cars have changed human society in many ways. They allow people to get to work on time, shop for goods, and visit friends. They also provide a sense of freedom and independence, because people can travel wherever they want without relying on public transportation.
Cars are one of the most important inventions of the twentieth century. They revolutionized the economy, fueled growth in other industries, and brought about new lifestyles. They have made it possible for people to live in urban areas and still travel to rural areas. They have allowed families to spend more time together, and for couples to go on romantic trips.
North Carolina has been a pioneer in automobile manufacturing. In 1914, Ford began assembling cars in Charlotte. In 1924, Ford built a huge plant in the city. This was the largest car factory in the South at the time.
Automobiles are complex machines. Their design and engineering are constantly changing, as new technologies are discovered. These changes affect the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, control systems, and safety devices. New designs also emerge as consumer tastes change, or as government regulations force manufacturers to comply with stricter standards for safety and energy consumption. For example, in the late 20th century American cars were often designed with non-functional styling in order to appeal to customers, but these fads soon disappeared, as federally mandated safety features, reduced air pollution, and rising oil prices eliminated the profit potential of gas-guzzling “road cruisers.” The industry is currently shifting toward small, functionally designed vehicles that are efficient on fuel and offer excellent performance.