That was around the early 1900s. At first, gasoline cars weren’t popular because they were nosiy, complicated and you had to crank them (which would sometimes end up breaking people’s arms!). However, the first gasoline fueled car was built in Germany in 1876. It took several years for the internal combustion engine to take over the American market though. The greater availability of gasoline helped though, especially the Texan Spindletop oil strike in 1901 (along with gasoline superiority in car races). When Henry Ford put his Model T on the American market in 1908, I think that’s when it really kicked off – because it was more financially accessible to the general public rather than the wealthy class.
I would like to add that the real switch was between electric cars and gasoline cars. Electric cars had many advantages over steam-powered cars back in the early 1900’s. Yes, electric cars have been around for a very long time. They were very popular for a time, but lost popularity with the discovery of cheap oil in Texas. Now that we are depleting our oil reserves, electric cars are gaining popularity again.
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