The change in the status of the automobile from an expensive luxury for the few
to a necessity for the many has transformed American communities and American
living habits over the past sixty years. The Automobile Age did not come abruptly,
for it could not. The Automobile Age depended on three things. First, a reliable and
not too expensive car. Second, a system of good roads. And third, garages and
gasoline stations in great numbers. ,,, By the nineteen-twenties, most of these condi-
tions had been met, and all three have been rapidly expanding and improving each
The impact of the automobile on American life has been tremendous. American
automobile manufacturers now sell eight million new automobiles each year, with
larger sales in prospect. No such startling change in the habits of a people as the
automobile has brought could take place without having far-reaching effects. Let us
take a glance at a few of them.
The automobile has developed the motorized suburb. City suburbs, previously
accessible by railroad, were limited in size because of the difficulty of reaching the
railroad station from any place more than a mile away. Now, with the automobile,
suburban families who live long distances from the station can reach it easily. As a
result, suburban areas have grown with remarkable speed, and large residential streets
can be found around the edge of every American city.
The coming of the automobile also had the effect of moving business from the
center of the city to the outskirts. The hotel on Main Street in the city, for example,
that had formerly been the one and only place for travelers to stay, lost business to the
less expensive tourist camp outside the city on the highway. In a short time the crude
tourist camp was transformed into a roadside hotel, or “motel” (a combination of
“motor” and “hotel”), which offered the traveler quiet, privacy, convenience, and even
luxury. The stores along Main Street in the heart of town lost business to the new
stores at the edge of the city, which had large parking lots and were close to the
suburbs. City department stores, painfully aware of the business they were losing,
opened suburban branch stores. Next came the development of huge shopping
centers, built at the outskirts of the city or in the suburbs where land was cheaper and
there was plenty of parking space. (399 words)
(注) tourist camp : simply built houses where tourists can stay for modest price
(1) The Automobile Age in America came suddenly, because it couldn’t have
(2) Eight million new automobiles are sold each year, and it is expected that
more and more cars will be produced in the future.
(3) Though cars have come to be widely used recently, it is necessary to live
near the railway station in the suburbs.
(4) All American cities have large-scale residential areas on the outskirts,
so people are able to go to the nearest station easily by car.
(5) Tourists can stay at motels for a modest price. However, unlike hotels,
motels offer not only noise and inconvenience, but also no privacy at all.
(6) City department stores opened branch stores, and huge shopping
centers with plenty of parking space were built in the suburbs where land
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A funny thing has happened to the personal computer (PC) industry. Despite the
increasing importance society places on personal computer ownership, the endless talk
about the joys of surfing the Internet, and a 124 percent jump in the amount of money
Spent on PC advertising over the past two years, the rate at which people are buying
their first computer has suddenly slowed down. In 1994, the number of PCs sold to
home users jumped 42 percent over the previous year. The next year, unit sales grew
by 18 percent, but in 1996, they grew only 8 percent. And it’s not as if the home
computer market is (a)mature. In fact, just 37 percent of American households own
PCs today. Computer makers are hardly hurting. Profits in the $ 60 billion U. S.
personal computer market have continued to shoot upward, boosted largely by
high-volume sales to corporations. Although sales of household computers account
for some 40 percent of the overall PC market, many large computer companies
actually lose money selling home PCs. They (b)make up their losses by selling
high-cost computers to companies.
Still, (c)the fact remains that the industry has yet to figure out what first-time
consumers really want from a personal computer. Experts believe that the potential
market for PCs is as much as 60 percent of households. But first, they must overcome
some important problems.
The first problem is that of image. The main barrier to wider PC use remains the
perception of the machine as “difficult-to-use.” Early users, who purchased the first
available home computers, may have enjoyed the idea of owning something that
ordinary people couldn’t use or were afraid to use. Another major problem is that
people don’t trust PC manufacturers—mostly because they do not try to make lasting
relationships with buyers. This may be the key reason for the industry’s low-loyalty
numbers. Only a third of home PC owners say they would purchase their next
machine from the company that made their current PC.
Because of rapid changes in technology, a PC loses its “newness” sooner than most
consumer products. (d)The industry’s obsession with new technology often leaves
consumers with machines that are out-at-date. Poor consumer-service is another
irritant. Consumers often endure busy signals and hours-long waits on the phone.
One computer executive says, “There’s no one out there saying, ‘If you buy us, you’ll
be OK.’ Car companies have been doing that for years.” (352 words)
(注) surfing the Internet : looking quickly through information on the computer Internet for anything that interests you
technology often leaves consumers with machines that are out-of-date. Poor
consumer-service is another irritant. Consumers often endure busy signals
and hours-long waits on the phone. One computer executive says, “There’s
no one out there saying, ‘If you buy us, you’ll be OK.’ Car companies have
been doing that for years.” (352 words)
(注) surfing the Internet looking quickly through information on the
computer Internet for anything that interests you
① There has been a 124-percent jump in the money spent on computers
over the past two years.
② One of the problems with the home computer market is that it is not yet
③ Many computer makers are not making profits on sales of home
④ Profits in the computer industry as a whole have been declining recently.
⑤ Household computers account for more than half of the overall PC
⑥ Computer sales specialists think that in the future almost every
household will have at least one computer.
⑦ Most early users of personal computers complained that they were too
difficult to use.
⑧ A majority of computer owners do not have any special loyalty to the
brand of the computer they now own.
⑨ PC manufactures try very hard to provide the best computer service to
computer owners who have problems.
2 下線部 (a)の意味に最も近いものを選びなさい。
① older than the usual age for something
② old enough to be ready to do something
③ ready to be paid
④ not capable of further growth
3 下線部(b) の意味に最も近いものを選びなさい。
①constitute ② complete ③ compensate ④ compare
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