The automobile gave drivers an unprecedented freedom to travel and explore. It also created a host of industries based on this new transportation model. In addition, the assembly line technique that Henry Ford used to build the automobile quickly made its way into other industries, improving productivity across the globe.
Ford drove the expansion of the automobile into society by insisting that his new vehicle should be affordable enough for anyone to own. Previously, horses and carriages were expensive and troublesome to maintain, especially for those living in urban areas. Inexpensive automobiles gave even middle-class workers the freedom to travel, and advances in wages and working conditions gave them the time and resources to take advantage of this new freedom.
The impact of the automobile on society is also easily seen in the population development of the United States. The rise of the automobile occurred at a time when the American population was expanding westward behind an initial rush of pioneers, and the ability to travel long distances without major logistical concerns can be seen in the sparseness of settlements west of the Mississippi. In the east, cities expanded in close proximity to one another, while in the West, there was no need to develop way stations between cities and towns, creating long stretches of lonely roads spanning the rolling plains.