Automobiles and the Environment
Whether used for recreation, work or travel, automobiles have become indispensable to modern life. They are a vital component of the global economy and have greatly influenced our social and cultural lives. They also play a significant role in the environment, especially when they are used for transportation in urban areas.
The automotive industry has many challenges. Automobiles can be damaged by road debris or accidents involving other vehicles, and they cause pollution when they are driven in large numbers in small spaces, like cities. They are also subject to maintenance issues, such as the need for regular oil changes.
In the early 1860s Siegfried Marcus of Austria developed a two-stroke internal combustion engine and attached it to a handcart. This vehicle did not have a steering wheel or seats, and it was not a true automobile. Gottlieb Daimler of Germany built a prototype in 1886 that had a four-stroke engine. Benz of Germany later built and patented a vehicle with an internal combustion engine, although his first car did not have an automobile body and was destroyed during its initial test drive.
Many technological advancements have boosted automobile performance. The development of an electric motor made automobiles more fuel-efficient than gasoline-powered engines. The invention of the assembly line by Ransom Eli Olds and Henry Ford revolutionized industrial manufacturing and reduced the price of automobiles, allowing them to be affordable for middle-class families. In addition, there are a variety of alternative energy sources for automobiles. Some of these vehicles are able to achieve very high speeds while still maintaining excellent fuel efficiency.