Having your own car means you don’t have to rely on ride-shares or public transit when you want to get somewhere. It gives you the freedom to travel, whether to work or to visit friends and family. And it opens up job opportunities because you can travel to areas where there are jobs.
The modern automobile is a complex technical system with many subsystems that have specific design functions. Almost all of them have evolved over time because of breakthroughs in science and technology, or from government requirements like seatbelt laws, safety standards and pollution controls.
Most modern cars are driven by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel such as gasoline. Originally, they were powered by steam, electricity or batteries (like the ones that recharged in a convenience store). Exactly who invented the automobile is debated, with some crediting German engineer Karl Benz, and others pointing to Charles and Frank Duryea as Americans. It was Henry Ford who revolutionized the manufacturing process, though, and made it possible to produce a model that was affordable to middle class families.
There are a lot of options for people who need to find a new ride, including sedans, sports cars and SUVs. The best models offer a mix of comfort, efficiency and handling that appeals to a broad range of consumers. Some try to be as functional as possible, like the Subaru Outback, while others take a more luxurious approach, such as the Mercedes S-Class.