Automobiles have revolutionized modern life, becoming a key force for change in twentieth-century America. The industry quickly became one of the most important in the nation, and its demand for fuel, steel, rubber, petroleum products, ancillary industries, and services like gas stations and convenience stores fueled the development of the United States into a consumer goods-oriented society. It also gave Americans more freedom of movement and opened up new careers in the manufacture and supply of automobiles, parts, and accessories.
Whether they are driving to work, school, or visiting friends and family, many people can not imagine going about their daily lives without a car. The ability to travel long distances opens up many more career options, gives us access to a wider range of entertainment, and allows for more opportunities to spend time with loved ones. The car is also more convenient than public transportation, because it eliminates the need to rely on other drivers. But there are disadvantages of owning an automobile as well.
The first automotive technology was steam, electric, and gasoline powered, but Henry Ford revolutionized automobile manufacturing in the 1920s by using the assembly line to increase production and lower prices. The Ford Model T was so affordable that it became the primary mode of transportation for middle-class families in most cities. It also helped establish the American car companies as global leaders in the industry.
Since then, new technology has changed the way we use automobiles, making them more efficient and safer than ever before. There are now more than 590 million cars on the world’s roads, with almost all of them being passenger cars. As of 2002, there are an average of three trillion miles traveled each year by these vehicles.
In the late twentieth century, the automobile began to lose its status as a progressive force in America. By the 1980s, ownership of motor vehicles had become virtually universal and it was clear that a period in American history called the Automobile Age was melding into a new Electronic Age.
A number of factors caused this change. Consumers complained about the non-functional design of American cars and their alleged “gas guzzling” qualities, which shifted the market to foreign countries where more functional, efficient designs were produced. In addition, environmental concerns grew as the world’s oil supplies began to run low.
Despite these factors, the automobile continues to be a vital part of the world’s economy. Increasingly, governments are focusing on improving highway infrastructure to accommodate the growth in automobile traffic. They are also working to make cars more environmentally friendly by encouraging the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. They are also developing ways to recycle the materials in used automobiles, so they can be reused in the future. This is helping to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfills. It is expected that the use of automobiles will continue to grow in the future. In order to keep pace with the demand, automotive manufacturers are investing in research and development.