Automobiles are vehicles that use a fuel to run an internal combustion engine or electric motor, and which can carry passengers. They are generally a lot larger and faster than bicycles, motorcycles or even buses, and can go places that public transport cannot, due to poor road conditions or other obstacles. They are also expensive to run and consume a great deal of energy, so they should be driven sparingly, to minimize fuel and electrical costs.
The modern automobile was invented in the late 1800s, although scientists had been working on its components for several hundred years before that. The earliest cars were powered by steam, electric power or gasoline engines. Steam engines were very expensive and required complicated machinery to operate, while battery-powered electric cars only had a limited range between charges. Gasoline-powered automobiles were more affordable and convenient than either of these options, but they also produced a large amount of air pollution.
Inventors like Karl Benz, who designed the first gas-powered automobile, and Henry Ford, who used assembly lines to reduce production costs and make cars available to more people, revolutionized the way we live. Cars give us the freedom to travel long distances in comfort and safety, as well as access to jobs, housing, services and entertainment. They also have the potential to damage and hurt people in crashes, which is why most countries have laws and regulations to keep them safe on the road.