The number one driving force in America is the sense of freedom we get, by being able to go where we want, when we want without having to wait for special conveyances. We have our cars & we are in love with them!
The automobile has been around for more than a century now & doesn’t look to be dropped as a technological dinosaur. The present economy may injure the auto industry yet will not sway most Americans to find a better or cheaper way to travel from home to work or to anywhere one might desire.
Our love of the car has been fostered by the unrestricted freedom we obtain from them. We can drive ourselves where we will at any time of our choosing. The automobile changed how America does so many things. Whole new businesses & lifestyles were started, because of the car. Even though the car has been around since the late 18th century ( one of the first steam cars was built in the 1700′s in China ), it wasn’t until the mid 1950′s when the idea of everyone having a car really came to be a reality.
For thousands of years people had to walk to their destinations. Few had the skills to train, care for, or ride horses. America had set the stage for the automobile, by designing a road system that would allow the car to travel nearly everywhere we might wish to go. In rural America the car was still mostly unknown until the 1940′s, & many small towns streets shared the lanes with horse & carriage. Now only a few groups of citizens refuse to use this newer technology & still use horse & carriage.
Henry Ford didn’t invent the car, yet he did figure out a way to mass produce them so they could be purchased for a modest sum of around $700. There weren’t a list of options that went with it, as the Ford was a bare bones rig, without many of the luxuries or extras we are used to at the present.
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/silveira36.html ( Great article on steam driven automobiles )
Somehow the car became the backbone of America. By the time a child reaches their 16th birthday, the license to drive becomes a driving force. We’ve been raised to anticipate our first car & generally know what type of vehicle we want by the time we’re 10 years old, although that usually changes when we obtain our license, as we tend to want newer & better or faster or more options than were available at that time.
The car has become so popular that many parents donate their children a car upon graduation from high school, where the graduation gift used to be a trip to Europe! Besides the freedom a car brings, one reason for this love of the car is the pervasive hyway system in our country. America boasts one of the most developed hyway systems in the world, as passengers & freight are handled in this manner.
In 2009 there were aproximately 19,3552,000 people 18+ years old that had a valid driver’s license, which works out to approximately 88% of the adult population. In 2007 it was estimated there were 254.4 million registered passenger vehicles in the United States according to a 2007 DOT study. Of course not all of that number were actually running at the time of the census. As of 2003, there were 759 automobiles per 1,000 Americans.
The car is the prefered mode of travel, at least for short distances. Only approximately 14% of the miles traveled each year by American citizens are traveled via planes, trains, & ships, the other 86% of miles logged are by automobile. Speed of locomotion & ease of driving has helped the automobile industry to grow.
Americans came to rely on the car, as a primary transportation source. We like going quickly from one place to another, so much so that we can no longer stand waiting for other transport. We are hooked on speed, the driving kind, & probably won’t quit that habit.
We have even built additions on our houses for our cars. Those additions are our garages, & our love for the automobile is so tremendous we need room for two or three in our garage! The car brought approximately whole new industries in our country.
Motels, once known as motor hotels, started showing up in America in 1925. The travel trailer industry along with trailer courts or parks. Americans could travel across the country, park their trailer at a trailer park while they vacationed or looked for work in a new area.
Travel trailers which turned into the R.V. ( recreational vehicles ) business, although motor coaches have been manufactured since 1926, & came from an idea the gypsies brought to our country in the 1800′s, a traveling home on wheels.
Drive-in movie theaters just celebrated their 75th anniversary! June 6, 1933 the first Drive-in movie theater was opened in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Even though the first Drive-in theater only lasted 3 years, it opened the way for many more across the country.
The first drive-in restaurant was Kirby’s Pig Stand, which opened in Dallas, Texas, in 1921. That opened the door for all kinds of drive-ins, & drive thru businesses. Those aren’t to be confused with drive-by which seems to have showed up lately. All of this has to do with our love of the car.
America has become a nation of drivers. Communities, more commonly known as ” The Suburbs ” were built away from the urban areas, for people to live in. Most of these communities have bus service, yet too many folks would rather drive themselves, despite the hours of commute. The need for freedom, to be or act as our own masters, prevents us from riding the bus.
Americans don’t buy cars just to flaunt their lifestyle. They bought a car to donate them the freedom to go, where they want, when they want, in the way they want, unencumbered by others wants or needs. Our culture is rife with the automobile, it’s lure, & lore. That probably won’t change, yet the way the car will be marketed in the future may have to change.
Despite tremendous hyways, over crowding during peak commute hours, or evacuations due to weather phenomena has led to many serious problems. Emergency vehicles have a rough time getting to the scene of an accident, or to other destinations, due to everyone’s personal desire to be free to drive. If people were willing to tolerate others more, & commuted together in car-pools, some of the crowding may be eliminated. But then we don’t have our freedom again!
We’ve all been waiting for the Jetson mobile, so we can avoid the crowded roadways, yet know it’s unlikely to come approximately as too many people aren’t willing to follow the rules on thye ground. There would be such a mess in the sky, with everyone going where they will. Not to mention how many of those futuristic rigs would fall out of the air due to lack of maintenance.
When the automobile was new to our country to use for travel or sport, it was a luxury. As the industrial revolution continued, the car became a must have item. Since buses don’t go to all of the places we want to go to, or when we want to go there, we only have one choice. To drive ourselves via car.
The bicycle was never developed for our needs here in this country. In Europe & Asia, the bicycle became the primary personal transportation unit. This may have been because the streets were narrow, or the average distance one had to travel was less than here. In America, we needed the car, to obtain around in all those wide open spaces, between the major cities.
With our society spreading out more & more, we are driven to obtain ourselves where we need to be. We’ve made the car every bit as significant in our lives as a house. The car has allowed us the ability to enrich our lives with all there is out there to enjoy or partake of. We have become a nation of drivers, as we are living a much faster paced lifestyle than ever was lived before.