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Saturday, September 15, 2018
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A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most automobile definitions say that they run mainly on roads, occupy one to eight people, have four tires and transport the main people instead of goods. Automobiles came into global use during the 20th century, and the developed economies depend on them. The year 1886 is considered the birth year of the modern car when the German inventor Karl Benz built his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Automobiles did not become widely available until the early 20th century. One of the first automobiles that were accessible to the masses was the Model T of 1908, an American automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. The cars were quickly adopted in the United States, where they replaced carriages and carts pulled by animals, but it took much longer to be accepted in Western Europe and other parts of the world. Cars have controls for driving, parking, comfort and safety for passengers, and controlling a variety of lights. Over the decades, additional features and controls have been added to the vehicles, making them progressively more complex. Examples include reversing cameras, air conditioning, navigation systems and in-car entertainment. Most of the cars in use in the 2010s are powered by an internal combustion engine, powered by the combustion of fossil fuels. This causes air pollution and is also blamed for contributing to climate change and global warming. Vehicles that use alternative fuels, such as flexible ethanol fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles, are also gaining popularity in some countries. Electric cars, which were invented at the beginning of the automobile's history, began to be commercialized in 2008. There are costs and benefits for the use of the car. Costs include the purchase of the vehicle, interest payments (if the car is financed), repairs and maintenance, fuel, depreciation, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance. Costs for society include road maintenance, land use, road congestion, air pollution, public health, health and the disposal of the end-of-life vehicle. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of injury-related deaths worldwide. The benefits include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence, and convenience. Social benefits include economic benefits, such as the creation of employment and wealth in the automotive industry, the provision of transportation, the social welfare of travel and leisure opportunities and the generation of income from taxes. The ability of people to move flexibly from one place to another has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies. It was estimated in 2014 that the number of cars exceeded 1.25 trillion vehicles, compared to 500 million in 1986. Figures are increasing rapidly, especially in China, India and other recently industrialized countries.