Energy in all forms is what drives the progress of humanity in all facets of life, and its generation has gone through many iterations over the course of scientific development. From something as basic as using manpower to push a plow to using a waterwheel to power large grinders, the force required to move these machine have to come from somewhere. The invention of the internal combustion engine allowed an unprecedented amount of energy to be harvested at a high efficient rate.
Much like the wheel, the applications of this technology are not in transportation alone. Early in the development of the engine, they were frequently employed to be large-scale water pumps to move quantities of liquid that would be inconceivable to displace by manpower alone. It would also be used later as a method to create electricity on the scale necessary to spread power to entire communities.
Throughout the late 1700s and early 1800s, advancements were made in the development of the engine we all know today. The gas turbine was first created in 1791 by inventory John Barber, and this was later used to create the first gas engine. Around the same time, the first combustion engine to use liquid fuel was created, but most of these methods were only efficient enough to power boats. They could not produce enough to fully replace steam engines until around the 1850s.
With advancements resulting in higher and higher returns on the fuel supplied, the first patented automobile was based on this technology. This later took to the skies with the creation and spread of jet engines in the 1930s and 1940s. As far as information could be spread through wires and through print, this allowed for much faster transportation of physical materials, and is an important cornerstone of global commerce.