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Cars – The Main Means of Transport For Hundreds of Millions of People All Over the World

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Cars are the main means of transport for hundreds of millions of people all over the world. They have changed the way we live more than any other invention in history. Initially they were only for the wealthy but as they became cheaper and better they became the main form of transport and people started to move to the suburbs of towns and cities. People could also take goods to market and carry on trade further away from their home. The development of road infrastructure grew as people started to build towns and villages further apart from each other.

Almost everybody in the developed world owns or drives a car. There are many different types of cars and they are used for a wide range of purposes. Some of the most popular are sports cars, utility vehicles and sedans. Others are small and compact such as hatchbacks, city cars or microcars. Some are designed to be environmentally friendly and run on electricity or biofuels. There are even hydrogen powered cars.

The first cars were steam driven but when internal combustion engines became available they replaced them. Early automobiles were very noisy and smoky but the technology continued to improve and by the 1920s most cars were silent and ran on gasoline. Some of the most significant improvements in automobiles during this time were electric ignition (developed by Charles Kettering for Cadillac in 1910-1911) and independent suspension (developed by Arthur J. Dunlop in 1927).

Car safety features have also been improved as well. These include seat belts, air bags and electronic control systems. Modern vehicles are also often fitted with cruise control, anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights.

A car is a complex machine which must be maintained regularly to ensure it continues to function properly. As a result, there is a large aftermarket industry which provides maintenance and replacement parts for cars. Many of these are very specialised but some are very common, such as the spark plug, oil filter and wiper blades. Most vehicles are now also fitted with navigation systems and in-car entertainment.

Some cars have more than four seats but most are designed to be used by just two occupants. There are also a number of different body styles to cater for specific passenger needs. These include the sedan/saloon, hatchback, station wagon/estate and coupe. Utility vehicles like pickup trucks may combine seating with cargo space.

Driving a car is a convenient way of travelling but it can be dangerous. Every year thousands of people are killed in traffic accidents and many more suffer serious injuries. Driving is also a source of air pollution and contributes to global warming. If Americans drove just 10% less it would make a significant difference to greenhouse gas emissions.

In the future, there is likely to be a move towards more electric and hybrid cars. These will be quieter and have less impact on the environment. However, there will still be a need for petrol and diesel cars.

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