Automobiles are a key element of modern society, and they are an important means for achieving freedom and independence. They also give employment to millions of people around the world who work in car factories or at the restaurants, motels, and gas stations that travelers stop at. But they also cause problems, including traffic accidents that kill many people and that pollute the air we breathe. They consume large amounts of energy, and they drain dwindling global oil supplies.
In the early twentieth century, automobile manufacturing was a powerful force for change, becoming the backbone of a new consumer goods-oriented economy and providing one out of every six jobs in America. It ranked first in value of production and consumed most of the nation’s steel and petroleum products. It was also the main source of jobs in ancillary industries.
The word automobile derives from the French auto + mobile, meaning self-propelled carriage. It is generally used for passenger transport, but can also be applied to special vehicles such as bus, mini-bus or truck. It can also refer to the engine of the vehicle which is used to drive it.
Automobiles are categorized into three main categories based on their purpose as if it is passenger carrier, goods carrier or special usage vehicles. For example, a luxury vehicle such as Mercedes Benz AMG E 63 S wagon can be classified as passenger carrier whereas a pick-up van or truck can be categorised as a goods carrier.