Development of automobiles and particularly availability of reliable automobiles has impacted the work and life of people across the world in a very significant way. Perhaps this impact of automobiles on life of people was most pronounced in USA during 1920's.
This was the decade when the people were recovering from the effect of World War I, and USA moved from a wartime economy to a peace economy. Many new inventions like automobile, radio, and movie became popular during this decade.
Automobiles prices dropped significantly and sales zoomed during this period because of the assembly line technology and other innovations introduced by Ford for manufacturing Ford cars and his policy of producing and selling cars at ever reducing prices.
Increase in sale and use of automobiles, gave a push to many other industries, resulting in overall increase in rate of growth of economic activity in USA. Manufacture of automobiles encouraged growth of many other industries such as steel, glass and rubber. Use of gasoline went up, and many new gas stations were opened. Many new roads and highways were built, which further improved the utility and use of automobiles. Many new motels were opened along the highway.
All these factors combined to bring about many changes during 1920's in the way American people lived. The major changes include the following.
- There was an overall increase in average prosperity level and standard of living of people. To a large extent this was because of increased economic activity, In addition the example set by Ford in paying higher wages to its workers also was an important contributor.
- The cities became bigger and people began to live in suburbs as people were willing to travel longer distances to their places of work and for their other work and social needs.
- In rural areas, the distance between homes increased because of ease of travel and commuting.
- People started to travel by road in big way in preference to travel by train.
- The tourism activity got a big boost because of easier and cheaper travel made possible by automobiles.
- General increase in standard of living, increased awareness through greater travel, and higher opportunities offered by growing industries also encouraged many new businesses.
- People also became more interested in higher education.