Automobiles, also called automobiles or motor cars, are wheeled motor vehicles that are primarily used for human transportation. They are powered by internal combustion engines fueled most often by gasoline (petrol), but some use diesel fuel, electricity or other sources. Most automobiles seat one to eight people and are designed for passenger transportation.
Automobile manufacturers are continually striving to improve the safety and efficiency of their products. Design changes to vehicles are driven by new technology and by government regulations, as well as consumer demands. New systems such as airbags, antilock braking systems and electronic stability control are becoming standard features in many automobiles.
The invention of the automobile has transformed modern life in ways few other developments have. It has changed the way we work, shop, travel and play. It has influenced urban planning, shaped the industry of automobile manufacture, and created new businesses such as gas stations and hotels. It has also increased demand for foods and recreation activities such as skiing, golfing and swimming.
While the automobile has revolutionized society in general, it has not been without its problems. Automobiles can cause traffic jams if too many are driven in the same area, and they produce air pollution that contributes to climate change. They are expensive to purchase and maintain, and they require the purchase of fuel. Alternative transportation such as buses, passenger trains and trams can reduce traffic congestion and are safer than automobiles. Some drivers are turning to more environmentally friendly hybrid-electric cars to cut down on greenhouse emissions and oil consumption.