Anyone who has owned and maintained a car can tell you that their life was made much easier because they no longer had to rely on public transportation. The time they used to spend waiting for the bus or trying to leave early enough to catch the train to go to work or school, they can now use to other things such as commuting with their family or taking care of business.
In addition to making their lives easier, automobiles also offer many other advantages compared to other modes of transportation such as buses or trains. The most obvious advantage of owning a car is that you can travel at your own pace and not have to worry about the schedules of other vehicles or being late for an important meeting. You can also be more flexible when transporting goods because you can carry larger items that are not allowed in other modes of transportation such as the train or buses.
The automobile has played an important role in shaping American society. It helped to develop new industries and jobs. It caused people to move to suburban areas where they had more space and access to services like grocery stores, schools and hospitals. It contributed to the rise of leisure activities and businesses such as restaurants and hotels. It also prompted changes to laws and regulations regarding traffic, safety and highway rules.
There were some negatives too. Automobiles caused pollution from exhaust and accelerated the depletion of natural resources such as oil. It also led to the development of sprawl in urban areas and the destruction of pristine habitats. It also encouraged the separation of families and increased stress levels among couples.
Automakers started to use mass production techniques to lower their prices in order to compete with each other and make them affordable for middle class families. Ford pioneered this idea with his assembly line and GM, Chrysler and other companies soon followed suit. By the 1920s these manufacturers dominated the industry. The industry played a critical role in World War II, turning out millions of military vehicles and other essential war materiel.
After the war, the automobile became a global enterprise. Americans began to question the nonfunctional styling of their cars and to criticize them for being gas guzzlers. Governments began imposing standards of safety, emissions and energy consumption. This slowed automobile production and innovation. Consumers turned to foreign makes, particularly the fuel efficient and functionally designed small cars of Japan. The era of the annually restyled road cruiser was over.