Automobiles are self-propelled vehicles that are designed to carry passengers, cargo or both. They are powered by internal combustion engines that use volatile inflammable liquids such as gasoline, petrol, alcohol or naphtha (called fuels). The driving motor provides the power to drive the wheels of the car through a transmission system. Some automobiles have three wheels while others have four. They are usually constructed on a chassis with a frame that is built around a suspension system and axles. Various models have been produced with varied features like a retractable roof (in convertibles), different braking systems, different propulsion systems and varied styling.
The first automobiles were horse-drawn carriages that had been stripped of the horses and fitted with engines. In the late 1860s Siegfried Marcus built a crude vehicle that used a gasoline-fueled, two-stroke engine to provide the power. The automobile revolutionized American life in many ways. It paved the way for new industries and services that developed to serve it. It prompted the development of better roads and transportation. It made it possible for people to live farther away from their work and for families to spend more time together. It also helped shape the national character by fostering a preference for individual freedom of action and living.
In addition, the automobile brought about a change in American culture by providing new opportunities for women to demonstrate their independence and strength. For example, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke traveled by car across the United States in 1916 to advocate for women’s right to vote. They decorated their car with “votes for women” banners and gave speeches from the car to promote the cause.