Automobiles are vehicles that people use to carry themselves and others from place to place. They usually have four wheels and an internal combustion engine powered most often by gasoline (called petrol in many countries). In the past, automobiles were also powered by electricity or kerosene. Some are shaped like sedans with four doors, while others are a bit sportier and have two doors or no roof at all (called coupes in American English). Vans are very large automobiles designed to carry passengers and cargo.
When people use their cars, they need to pay attention to the road and make sure to drive safely so that they don’t crash. Accidents can hurt or kill people and may damage the car, too. Automobiles also produce air pollution, especially if they are used a lot in big cities. This is a problem because too much pollution is bad for the health of the planet. The best way to avoid traffic congestion is to use public transportation, such as buses, trains, trams or subways.
Karl Benz, a German engineer, invented the first automobile around 1885. His design was based on the Otto cycle petrol engine. Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach of Germany later fitted a motor to a horse carriage and may have been the first team to build an automobile from scratch in about 1888 or 1890. Several innovations were made by these inventors, including an accelerator for speed regulation, a battery ignition system, a spark plug and a radiator.