A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle utilized for transport. Most definitions of automobile state they operate mostly on roads, seat one to eight individuals, have four tires, and mostly transfer people rather than goods. Cars came into global use during the 20th century, also developed markets depend on them. The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of this modern car when German inventor Karl Benz assembled his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Cars became widely available in the early 20th century. One of the first cars which were accessible to the masses was that the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Cars were quickly adopted in the united states, where they exchanged animal-drawn carriages and carts but took much longer to be approved in Western Europe and other areas of the planet.
Cars have controls for driving, parking, passenger comfort and safety, and controlling an assortment of lights. Over the decades, additional features and controls have been added to vehicles, making them increasingly more complicated. Most automobiles in use in the 2010s are propelled using an internal combustion engine, fueled by the combustion of fossil fuels. This causes air pollution and contributes to climate change and global warming. Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles are also gaining popularity in certain nations. Electric automobiles, which were invented early in the history of the car, started to become commercially available in 2008.
There are costs and benefits to automobile use. The costs include obtaining the automobile, interest payments (in case the vehicle is financed), repairs and maintenance, gas, depreciation, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance. The costs to society include maintaining roads, land use, road congestion, air pollution, public health, healthcare, and disposing of the car at the end of its life. Road traffic injuries are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.
The societal benefits include economic benefits, such as job and wealth creation from the automotive sector, transport supply, social well-being from travel and leisure opportunities, and revenue generation from the taxes. The capacity for people to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching consequences for the nature of societies. It had been estimated in 2014 that the number of automobiles was over 1.25 billion vehicles, upwards from the 500 million of 1986. The amounts are rising rapidly, particularly in China, India along with other newly industrialized countries.