Gas Prices Got You Down? Buy a Scooter!

While the price of gasoline has skyrocketed over the past year, many commuters have turned to creative ways to help ease the pain at the pump.  One of these ways is buying a scooter.

According to an article written by Catherine Clifford for CNN Money, scooter sales are up 66% in the first six months of 2008 when compared to the same period in 2007.  Considering many scooters get 80 MPG or better, it’s certainly easy to see why they’ve become so popular as of late.

In Clifford’s article, Paolo Timoni, president of the company which owns Vespa, a popular brand of scooters, talks about the transition in the perception and usage of scooters:

“About 5 years ago, most people were buying the motor scooter more as a recreational product to enjoy on the weekend.  Nowadays, most of the people that buy this vehicle buy them as an alternative transportation vehicle.”

If gas prices continue to climb as many analysts are predicting, I’m sure more and more people will begin to look into getting one of these vehicles as their primary mode of transportation – especially if they live in an urban area.

Now, for my own personal story:

I’ve always wanted to own a motorcycle, so earlier this year I got my act together, took a motorcycle safety class, got my license and bought a nice used bike.  The first couple of times I took the bike out, I was pretty terrified, but after a while, I started having a pretty good time.

However, it wasn’t until gas prices climbed above $4 that I convinced myself that I made the right choice.  After all, switching my main commuting vehicle from my car (30 mpg) to my motorcycle (55 mpg) was a pretty easy and fun way to save money.  Although, I certainly wouldn’t mind if my bike got a Vespa like 75 or 80 mpg.

Now, I’m sure my story would be different if I had been in any near misses or accidents, but so far so good.

Keeping this in mind, there is something very comforting about being surrounded by steel, airbags and seatbelts, so buying a motorcycle or scooter might not be for everyone, especially those of us who have to commute on highways.

If you own a scooter or motorcycle – or have been thinking about getting either – please leave your experiences/thoughts in the comment section.

Comments

  1. Dan Braasch says:

    I just turned 2000 miles this morning on my scooter, and thought it would be a good time to look at the savings in gas.

    Normally I drove my car 4000 miles during this time (1000 miles per month). The cost was:
    4000 divided by 26MPG = 153.84 gallons at $4/gal = $615.38.

    So far I’ve been able to ride the scooter ½ the time, so:
    Scooter: 2000 divided by 88MPG = 22.7 gallons at $4/gal = $90.80.
    Car: 2000 divided by 26MPG = 76.92 gallons at $4/gal = $307.69
    Total: 99.62 gallons = $398.49

    Gas savings: 54.22 gallons = $216.88, a 35% reduction in fuel use.

    And the scooter’s MPG has been around 90 lately, so it has been getting better than the 88 I used for my calcutions, which is my overall average during the 2000 miles. It gets better the longer I own it.

    Of course, these numbers do not take into account saving 50% of the wear and tear on the car, which is much more expensive than wear and tear on the scooter, (which is also easier to work on). It also does not take into account the cost of the scooter nor insurance for it.

    Just think if everyone dropped their fuel use by 35%!

    Dan

  2. Hey All,

    I’ve seriously considered a scooter, only a few things are holding me back.

    1/ Winter is fast approaching. So I’d have to drive a car anyways (I really do hate the cold and my ultimate goal is to live somewhere that has a low of 15 at night during the winter….).

    2/ Cost. I’m at the point where I need a different car (selling my Volare on ebay at the moment) and one that my wife can drive.

    So a scooter is considerable for next spring at this point in my life.

  3. I was tempted to get a motorcycle at one point, but I just know that I’d kill myself on one of those things!

    So did you get a bullet bike, or more of a Harley style? I think if I was going to get a motorcycle it would be either a Harley or a Chopper.

  4. Dan Braasch says:

    Hi fuel additives,

    I did not buy a motorcycle, I bought a scooter, specifically a Yamaha Vino 125. That stands for 125cc, by the way (small engine). It has a CVT trans, so no shifting in heavy traffic. Scooters are typically much better on gas than motorcycles are.

    Dan

  5. Rob Scanlan says:

    I have been riding, off and on, for 18 years. My first experience was with a rented 49 cc Honda Spree scooter. I toured Victoria BC on it and loved every moment. Two years later I took a motorcycle safety course. I bought a 550 cc Yamaha Vision motorcycle. It was mechanically problematic and a little scary at times. I rode the bike all the way from Brampton Ontario to St. John’s Newfoundland (a journey of just over 3000 kilometers). I kept the bike a year and shed no tears when I sold it to my brother-in-law. While in Europe a few years later I rented another scooter. Again, I loved it. A year later I decided to buy myself a 250 cc Honda Elite scooter(very reliable but ugly). The cost: $600. I rode it for five years, sometimes in very cold weather. I sold it because I needed to buy a snow blower. The other reason: my children were young and I had stopped riding. I sold the Honda for more than what I paid for it. Try that with a car. Recently, I bought another scooter: a 49 cc Yamaha BWS (known as the “Zuma” in the US). I just love this thing. It has fat tires, two headlights, tons of storage space and is surprisingly peppy (off the line). In two weeks, I have used it for commuting to work. I have visited clients with it (I’m a social worker). I have used it to drop my son off at art class and my daughter off at gymnastics. I have used to pick up groceries. A 15 pound turkey fit very easily under my seat. Try that on a regular motorcycle. When the gas gauge nears empty, I can barely squeeze $5 into the tank. In conclusion, I also own a very fuel efficient car (a Corolla) and a gas guzzling minivan (a Sedona). But my favourite ride is my scooter.

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  1. […] that in mind, here are the Top 5 Tips that you should keep in mind when purchasing a used motorcycle so that you get the best cycle for your money, and have the least troubles down the road (pun […]

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