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Impact of Automobiles on America

The automobile effected America’s economic and social life. It changed the way Americans forever lived. The automobile provided the nation with new opportunities on a day to day basis. The automobile is a quintessential invention to the way we, live today. Many would be lost without the automobile. Many wonder what Americans would do if there were no cars, would the nation be able to function today? The history of the automobile begins as early as the late 18th century, with the creation of steam powered automobiles. Over time automobiles began to improve; automobiles began to run on fuel gas rather than steam powered engines. The automobile industry forever changed when Henry Ford and the ford motor company began using the assembly line. The assembly line was a manufacturing system in which parts are sequentially added to produce a final product. The assembly line instantaneously changed the speed of production on the automobiles. Ford’s cars came off the line in three minutes intervals. Ultimately the total manufacture time was increased from twelve and a half hours to an astonishing one hour and thirty three minutes, while using less man power. In the early 1920s the rapidly growing automobile industry caught the attention of the federal government. The 1920s were a boom for highway construction and improvements. During that time over ten billion dollars were invested in roads and highways nationwide. In 1921, the federal-aid highway act was passed. Federal government matched state funds for roads and highways on a fifty/fifty basis. Prior to the federal-aid highway act of 1921, each state was entitled to assistance for the construction of seven percent of their highways and roads. The number of highways and roads quickly grew due to the automobile industry. Drivers were now able to freely travel to almost everywhere they desired. (Elliot, 2) The results of the assembly line were extremely successful. More and more companies understood that their production could be increased while still saving money. It was clear; workers could work more efficiently, when they are constantly repeating the same action. There was a high demand for employees to work the assembly line. “Employment by firms engaged in motor vehicle and equipment manufacturing peaked in the late 1970’s at approximately one million individuals—twice the employment of 1929” (Hess 9). Southerners moved up north in hopes of getting a factory job. The assembly caused the economy to boom. The cheaper manufacturing caused a drop in price of the product, thus making it more affordable to the common man. Additionally the assembly line caused many more jobs to Americans. The automobile industry became the leading technology of the 20th century. Peter Drucker said “The automobile industry stands for modern industry all over the globe. It is to the twentieth century what the Lancashire cotton mills were to the nineteenth century: the industry of industries.” Additionally, the automobile industry caused dozens of spin-off businesses to thrive in America. Well Established industries like the oil industry and the steel industry both saw incredible success due to the popular demand of the automobile. Vulcanized rubber also saw their demand skyrocket. The automobile industry created many new businesses and jobs for Americans. Due to the common need of gas, gas stations were established throughout America. Another establishment that greatly benefitted from the automobile industry was motels. On long distance trips, many drivers needed shelter for the night, thus the becoming of motels. One of many other businesses created, was the diner. Drivers wanted a quick meal while on the road. Diners provided them with exactly what they were looking for, a quick classic Americana meal. These important establishments enabled common people who could not afford luxuries as planes and boats to