Automobiles have become a vital part of American society. They are the primary mode of family transportation. Around 1.4 billion passenger cars are produced worldwide. One-quarter of these are produced in the United States. In total, Americans travel about three trillion miles annually, making automobiles an important part of American life. Manufacturers are increasingly introducing new designs and models. In fact, there are 70 million new passenger cars manufactured annually.
The word “automobile” gets thrown around a lot, but there is a big difference between a motorcycle and an automobile. While motorcycles are self-propelled, they are not automobiles. In addition, motorcycles do not have the capacity to carry a large number of passengers, and motorcycles do not have four wheels. However, motorcycles can be categorized as automobiles in some jurisdictions.
Modern automobiles usually have an internal combustion engine that powers the drive train when the vehicle is cruising. However, some hybrid vehicles are fully electric and run on battery power alone. The first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles came on the market in the mid-1990s, and their sales grew steadily through the 21st century.
In the early twentieth century, automobile manufacturing was a major force in changing American society. The automobile became the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented society. By the mid-1920s, the automobile industry was the largest in value and was responsible for one-fifth of all American jobs. The automobile industry has also influenced the evolution of other industries, such as steel and oil.