A car is a land-based vehicle with four wheels and an engine which, in the majority of cases, is fuelled by petrol. Some automobiles (a variant of "car" that is losing ground in common language) are propelled using electrical energy.
Since cars began to be developed on an industrial scale in the early 20th century (the first "automobile" was invented in 1769 by Joseph Cugnot), the car has become the most popular form of transport, offering a simple and rapid method. In the space of a century, it has become the most popular form of transport on the planet.
In physical, scientific terms, the car operates via mechanical propulsion (a term used in both its etymological and scientific senses). The driver controls the car using a variety of control systems (primarily the steering wheel and pedals).
As well as a practical machine for travel, the car also now occupies an important social position in our society. An individual's car make and appearance signifies his/her membership of a particular social group. A Ferrari owner, for example, may be clearly identified as belonging to a "rich" social group, and other brands of car are associated with similar social identifications.
In order to use a car, the driver must possess a driving licence, which demonstrates his/her understanding of road traffic regulations, as governed by the Highway Code.