Automobiles are wheeled motor vehicles that carry passengers and cargo on roads. They are powered by internal combustion engines or electric motors and come in many forms. The automobile is an important part of modern life. It opened new work opportunities and gave people freedom to move around the country and the world. It also brought new industries and services, such as motels and restaurants for travelers. But it also brought problems, like deaths in car accidents and pollution that harms the environment. And it put a strain on dwindling world oil supplies.

Most modern automobiles run on a gasoline (petrol) engine, although electric motors are becoming more common. They are fueled by burning fuel in an internal combustion engine to produce power that drives the wheels and produces electricity for lights and other systems. Most cars have a dashboard with controls and a panel showing information such as how fast the car is traveling and its engine speed. Some modern cars can be driven by autopilot, which lets the driver relax and take their hands off the steering wheel.

Karl Benz, a German engineer, is credited with inventing the modern automobile around 1885. He used a four-stroke internal combustion engine to drive his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. The first mass-produced automobiles were built by companies such as Ford. These companies used techniques such as the assembly line to reduce costs and make cars more affordable for middle-class Americans. Automobiles are very complicated machines with a wide variety of systems that must work together to keep them running safely and smoothly.