The automobile is a type of vehicle usually with four wheels, a front and rear engine, and is designed for passenger transportation. An automobile is typically powered by an internal combustion engine, an electric motor, or by alternative means.
During the twentieth century, the automobile was a key force in bringing the American people more comforts, amenities, and conveniences. It spurred the development of tourism, better medical care, and more schools in rural America.
During the first half of the twentieth century, the United States quickly overtook Europe as the leading automotive industry. By the mid-1920s, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler emerged as the “Big Three” auto companies.
The automobile also revolutionized the petroleum industry. Fuel efficiency and emissions-control systems improved. New safety legislation also helped make automobiles more safe. Increasing the size of the market also gave manufacturers more opportunities to innovate.
Automobiles also benefited America’s economy. The industry accounted for one out of six jobs in 1982.
A chronic shortage of skilled labor encouraged mechanization of industrial processes in the United States. Cheap raw materials also fueled the growth of the automobile industry.
In the 1920s, the automobile industry became a key contributor to the petroleum industry. This paved the way for the new consumer goods-oriented society.
The era of annually restyled road cruisers ended with the rise in gasoline prices in 1973. Federal standards for automotive safety and pollution began in 1965.
The post-World War II era saw cars with hydraulic brakes, syncromesh transmissions, and high compression engines. Postwar models also featured low-pressure balloon tires.