Scooters to save gas – a bad idea?

Autoextremist’s Peter M. De Lorenzo turns his sights on scooters this time for his weekly “Rants” column. It certainly takes the opposite stance as all of the “Everyone should buy a scooter to save money on gas!” articles that come out anytime gas prices rise.

Worth the read.

10 thoughts on “Scooters to save gas – a bad idea?”

  1. That is one hell of a grouchy rant. But it’s almost entirely true. Americas transportation infrastructure is not as amenable to scooters as it is in Europe. But I think there are plenty of people with the aptitude, desire, sense and logistic situation that can really appreciate and enjoy the utility of the scooter. That’s the part that gets left out in an honest but bitter rant.

  2. Shockingly I also agree with a lot that he had to say. I know many people around this town that are elsewhere while commuting on their scoot or in their cage. However, it will become more and more a viable form of transportation for the masses as we shift from large/many to small/fewer (mass transit will have to play a HUGE part in the “fewer” department).

  3. For the most part I agree with him – people are short sighted when it comes to saving gas and only see the immediate return i.e. a savings of $5-10 at the pump. What they neglect is that they just spent an extra $3-4k on a hybrid version of their car to save gas, or purchasing a $4k scooter. It will take years to make up the difference, and while some of us do keep our cars and scooters well beyond the break even point, many do not.

    But, I take big offense to the following: “Guess what, folks – riding your Vespa down Woodward Avenue, Michigan Avenue or Fifth Avenue does not constitute ‘the right circumstances.’ ” Ahem, I think those are the PERFECT circumstances. Is there a better or more logical place for a scooter than the city/urban environment. I ride Michigan Avenue everyday on my commute – what is so bad about that?!?!!

  4. It’s an ignorant argument. In tone, he exculpates people who mindlessly operate their 3-ton SUVs. If somebody buys a scooter and thinks they are some sort of invincible toy, then they are going to be making unsafe decisions anyway…like driving a 3 ton SUV while talking on a cell phone. As if scooters brainwash people…or SUVs brainwash people…

  5. At MN Motorcycle Monthly they have/had a column called ‘geezer with a grudge’. Similar grumpy nature. It can be a fun way to make a say something. But because of AM radio I think a lot of people are desensitized to it.

  6. I agree about people being naive about what it means to put yourself in traffic on a scooter. You have to assume that you are invisible or that people in cars are just flat out trying to kill you. As far as replacing the gas guzzler with a more fuel efficient model-that argument is becoming easier as the price of fuel gets higher. I have an older american land yacht that averages 12mpg in the city-about the same as a large SUV. It is paid for and I spend about $90 a week on gas. If I replace it with a car that gets 30mpg in the city, that becomes $36 a week for gas, leaving $216 extra for a 4 week month. That is almost a car payment! As gas gets even more expensive, the math makes even more sense. $5 per gallon makes my $90 become $112.5 and 30mpg becomes $45 with a 4 week savings of $270!
    As for my scooter, if I can drive it everyday I spend $10 a week. Even though I live in Chicago and don’t drive it year round, I saved over $1000 last year in gas. I bought it in 2006 for $2000 so it has paid for itself and is fun drive whether I am on Michigan ave or driving through the suburbs!

  7. Bottom line… not everyone is cut out to be a scooter rider.

    However, there might be a day not too distant that the roads (in the cities, suburbs, not highways) are clear of most SUVs and the shear volume of bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters will make even the Fits seem a somewhat unusual sight.

    Have we forgotten the photos of the empty highways back in the 70’s?

  8. I agree with a lot of what he said, if not his actual conclusions about riding scooters in US cities.

    The economic argument for a scooter or car purchase is far more complex than just gas mileage and purchase price.

    If you need to replace a vehicle anyway, it makes good sense to buy one that uses less gas. That’s simple. If you are selling a vehicle you otherwise would have kept to save money on gas, then it gets much more complicated and less likely to save you money.

    You will absolutely save money and get a return on the investment pretty quickly if you sell a car without taking a loss, and apply the money towards a scooter that will replace the actual use of the car.

    Example: I had a Saturn 4 door car that I drove only to work, it was 6 years old and long since paid for. It did actually get very good gas mileage, in the 35-40mpg range. I sold it to my brother for $2500. I bought a scooter for about $3000 and now use that for commuting instead. I save money on gas, I save money on insurance, I save money on parking, and the sale of the car paid for all but $500 of the scooter.

    In my example, if I had kept the car and continued to pay insurance and parking fees, the scooter wouldn’t have been a very good economic decision, even if I used it to commute most of the time and so used less gas. Paying for itself on gas savings alone would take a very long time.

  9. He’s right for the most part. You remember that clueless idiot in the SUV talking on a cellphone who almost killed you on the way to work today? And the dipshit on the scooter wearing flip flops and a bicycle helmet? Well guess what? They’re the SAME PERSON.

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