401 Gridlock.jpg
Modern cars and trucks driving on an expressway in Ontario, Canada
Fuel sourceGasoline, diesel, natural gas, electric, hydrogen, solar, vegetable oil
InventorKarl Benz[1]

A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of car say they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four tires, and mainly transport people rather than goods.[2][3] Cars came into global use during the 20th century, and developed economies depend on them. The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car when German inventor Karl Benz patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Cars became widely available in the early 20th century. One of the first cars that were accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Cars were rapidly adopted in the US, where they replaced animal-drawn carriages and carts, but took much longer to be accepted in Western Europe and other parts of the world.

Cars have controls for driving, parking, passenger comfort and safety, and controlling a variety of lights. Over the decades, additional features and controls have been added to vehicles, making them progressively more complex. Examples include rear reversing cameras, air conditioning, navigation systems, and in car entertainment. Most cars in use in the 2010s are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by the combustion of fossil fuels. This causes air pollution and also contributes to climate change and global warming.[4] Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles are also gaining popularity in some countries. Electric cars, which were invented early in the history of the car, began to become commercially available in 2008.

There are costs and benefits to car use. The costs include acquiring the vehicle, interest payments (if the car is financed), repairs and maintenance, fuel, depreciation, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance.[5] The costs to society include maintaining roads, land use, road congestion, air pollution, public health, health care, and disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life. Road traffic accidents are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.[6]

The benefits include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence, and convenience.[7] The societal benefits include economic benefits, such as job and wealth creation from the automotive industry, transportation provision, societal well-being from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the taxes. The ability for people to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies.[8] It was estimated in 2014 that the number of cars was over 1.25 billion vehicles,[9] up from the 500 million of 1986.[10] The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in China, India and other newly industrialized countries.[11]


The word car is believed to originate from the Latin word carrus or carrum ("wheeled vehicle"), or the Middle English word carre (meaning "two-wheel cart", from Old North French). In turn, these originated from the Gaulish word karros (a Gallic chariot).[12][13] It originally referred to any wheeled horse-drawn vehicle, such as a cart, carriage, or wagon.[14][15] "Motor car" is attested from 1895, and is the usual formal name for cars in British English.[3] "Autocar" is a variant that is also attested from 1895, but that is now considered archaic. It literally means "self-propelled car".[16] The term "horseless carriage" was used by some to refer to the first cars at the time that they were being built, and is attested from 1895.[17]

The word "automobile" is a classical compound derived from the Ancient Greek word autós (αὐτός), meaning "self", and the Latin word mobilis, meaning "movable". It entered the English language from French, and was first adopted by the Automobile Club of Great Britain in 1897.[18] Over time, the word "automobile" fell out of favour in Britain, and was replaced by "motor car". "Automobile" remains chiefly North American, particularly as a formal or commercial term.[19] An abbreviated form, "auto", was formerly a common way to refer to cars in English, but is now considered old-fashioned. The word is still very common as an adjective in American English, usually in compound formations like "auto industry" and "auto mechanic".[20][21] In Dutch and German, two languages historically related to English, the abbreviated form "auto" (Dutch) / "Auto" (German), as well as the formal full version "automobiel" (Dutch) / "Automobil" (German) are still used — in either the short form is the most regular word for "car".

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Motorvoertuig
Alemannisch: Auto
አማርኛ: መኪና
العربية: سيارة
aragonés: Auto
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܪܕܝܬܐ
armãneashti: Amaxi
arpetan: Ôtomobile
asturianu: Automóvil
Avañe'ẽ: Mba'yruguata
azərbaycanca: Avtomobil
تۆرکجه: اوتوموبیل
বাংলা: গাড়ি
Bân-lâm-gú: Chū-tōng-chhia
башҡортса: Автомобиль
беларуская: Аўтамабіль
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Аўтамабіль
भोजपुरी: कार
български: Автомобил
Boarisch: Auto
bosanski: Automobil
brezhoneg: Karr-tan
буряад: Автомашина
català: Automòbil
čeština: Automobil
corsu: Vittura
Cymraeg: Car
dansk: Bil
Deitsch: Maschien
Deutsch: Automobil
Diné bizaad: Chidí
eesti: Auto
Ελληνικά: Αυτοκίνητο
español: Automóvil
Esperanto: Aŭto
euskara: Automobil
فارسی: خودرو
Fiji Hindi: Motar
føroyskt: Bilar
français: Automobile
Frysk: Auto
Gaeilge: Gluaisteán
Gaelg: Gleashtan
galego: Automóbil
贛語: 汽車
گیلکی: ماشین
ગુજરાતી: મોટરગાડી
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Khi-chhâ
한국어: 자동차
Hausa: Mota
հայերեն: Ավտոմեքենա
हिन्दी: मोटरवाहन
hrvatski: Automobil
Bahasa Indonesia: Mobil
interlingua: Automobile
Interlingue: Automobile
íslenska: Bifreið
italiano: Autovettura
עברית: מכונית
Basa Jawa: Montor
ქართული: ავტომობილი
kaszëbsczi: Aùto
қазақша: Автомобиль
Kiswahili: Motokaa
Kongo: Tomabîlu
Kreyòl ayisyen: Machin
Кыргызча: Автомобиль
Ladino: Otomobil
ລາວ: ລົດ
Latina: Autocinetum
latviešu: Automašīna
Lëtzebuergesch: Auto
lietuvių: Automobilis
lingála: Mótuka
Livvinkarjala: Mašin
lumbaart: Vetüra
magyar: Autó
македонски: Автомобил
Malagasy: Fiarakodia
മലയാളം: കാർ
Malti: Karozza
Māori: Motokā
مصرى: عربيه
Bahasa Melayu: Kereta
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ké-chiă
монгол: Автомашин
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကား
Dorerin Naoero: Auto
Nederlands: Auto
Nedersaksies: Auto
Nēhiyawēwin / ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ: Wikipedia:Archives/ᐅᒑᐹᓂᔥ
नेपाल भाषा: अटोमोबाइल
日本語: 自動車
нохчийн: Автомобиль
Nordfriisk: Auto
norsk: Bil
norsk nynorsk: Bil
Nouormand: Qùérette
occitan: Automobila
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Avtomobil
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕਾਰ
پنجابی: کار
Patois: Kyaar
Piemontèis: Automòbil
polski: Samochód
Ποντιακά: Αραπάν
português: Automóvel
Qaraqalpaqsha: Avtomobil
română: Automobil
Romani: Vurdon
Runa Simi: Antawa
русиньскый: Автомобіл
русский: Автомобиль
саха тыла: Массыына
Scots: Automobile
Seeltersk: Automobil
shqip: Automobili
සිංහල: මෝටර් රථ
Simple English: Car
سنڌي: ڪار
slovenčina: Automobil
slovenščina: Avtomobil
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Аѵтокїнито
ślůnski: Auto
Soomaaliga: Baabuur
کوردی: ئۆتۆمۆبیل
српски / srpski: Аутомобил
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Automobil
Basa Sunda: Otomotif
suomi: Auto
svenska: Bil
Tagalog: Kotse
தமிழ்: தானுந்து
తెలుగు: కారు
тоҷикӣ: Автомобил
Tsetsêhestâhese: Amâho'hestôtse
Türkçe: Otomobil
тыва дыл: Автомобиль
ᨅᨔ ᨕᨘᨁᨗ: Oto
українська: Автомобіль
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ئاپتوموبىل
Vahcuengh: Giceh
vepsän kel’: Avto
Tiếng Việt: Xe hơi
Võro: Auto
walon: Oto
文言: 汽車
Winaray: Awto
吴语: 汽车
ייִדיש: אויטאמאביל
粵語: 汽車
Zazaki: Erebe
žemaitėška: Automuobėlis
中文: 汽车
Kabɩyɛ: Lɔɔɖɩyɛ