Automobiles – A Symbol of American Life
The automobile has become a symbol of the American lifestyle. Perhaps no other invention affected everyday life as much in the twentieth century. It was a major force for change in society, providing jobs and making many industries grow and prosper. It also created problems, such as pollution and traffic congestion, that required new laws and government regulation. The automobile also spawned new businesses, such as fast-food restaurants and motels.
The modern automobile is an amazing machine. It takes chemical energy stored in gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene or electricity and turns it into mechanical energy to turn the wheels of the vehicle. The amount of energy the engine (also called a motor) produces is measured in horsepower. The speed and torque of the automobile are controlled by a system called the transmission, which is an arrangement of gears that allows the engine to run at different speeds.
Most cars use a gas engine. Earlier vehicles used steam, electricity, or water as the source of power. The first true automobiles were invented by Karl Benz and other engineers in the late 1800s. Early cars had a limited number of speeds, and were only used by the wealthy. In the 1920s, Henry Ford revolutionized the industry. He designed an assembly line that made cars more affordable. By the 1940s, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler dominated world auto production.
Throughout the years, many technological innovations improved the performance of automobiles. These included improvements to the body, chassis and engine. Engineers and scientists have also developed the drive train, control systems and safety systems. Most recent technological advances have focused on fuel economy and emissions control systems.
Automobiles can be powered by several fuels, including natural gas, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The internal combustion engine is the most common way to power an automobile. It burns a fuel (such as gasoline, diesel or kerosene) to make the motor run. The engine is connected to the wheels by a transmission that adjusts the speed and torque of the car.
In addition to the fuel, an automobile requires a large amount of cooling and lubrication. The engine, transmission, and cooling systems work together to keep the car running smoothly and efficiently.
The modern automobile is a complex machine with hundreds of parts. The most important of these are the engine, transmission, and cooling system.
A modern automobile’s tires are an important component in its safety and handling. The tires are made of a rubber compound that helps to reduce the friction between the road and the wheel. The tires also help to protect the steel wheels from damage.
Almost every aspect of the automotive industry is subject to rapid changes in technology and consumer demand. Changing consumer demands and changing environmental concerns have caused the automotive industry to develop rapidly. The era of the annually restyled “road cruiser” ended with the imposition of federal standards of automotive safety and air quality; the escalation of oil prices during the oil shocks of 1966 and 1973; and the penetration of the world market by manufacturers of fuel-efficient, functionally designed, well-built small cars.