In times of climate crisis, there is wide agreement that we need a more environmental approach to automobility. The ERC-funded Research Project “Off the Road” (2023-2027) addresses this challenge by highlighting a largely forgotten fact: that automobility was a thoroughly environmental experience before the current system of closed cars on concrete roads emerged. This environmental automobility was particularly widespread in the United States, where much driving occurred in off-road conditions well into the 1920s. Motorists navigated through mud, sand, and water, constantly exposed to the elements and acutely aware of their surroundings. Early automobility thus engendered unprecedented modes of relating to the environment — modes that have never been systematically researched.