POCPhil launches the 2011 gas price scooter media blitz. Fine, even Phil’s doing it*, I’m not gonna begrudge dealers for milking the gas mileage argument, scooter shops that lasted through 2010 really need the business, and I hope 2011 rivals 2008 for scooter sales. But if consumers do some research, they’ll see fuel prices are an excuse to buy a scooter, not a true justification.
To be fair, any excuse to buy a scooter is a good excuse. And I’ll never deny that (modern!) scooters get great gas mileage and pollute minimally, and buying a new scooter to replace a car or in place of a second car is certainly a wise move. That’s a fact, and many people have changed their lifestyle, saved money, and helped the environment, and had a lot of fun doing it, that’s great, and I can’t encourage that enough.
But if, like many consumers, you’re looking to buy two $6000 scooters (and accoutrements, see below) to add to your fleet of 2 SUVs, and you’re only going to ride them on weekends and the occasional nice day because you live in Minnesota where it’s snowing 3/4 of the year and you have a toddler and a first-grader, the gas-savings argument doesn’t make sense. And note (woman in POC video above) that two scooters, obviously, get half the mileage of one scooter, if you’re buying 2 60mpg scooters, is that saving gas over driving together in a 30mpg car?
Keep in mind MPG figures on scooters are generally somewhat inflated when compared to real-world use (though technology continues to improve mileage and manufacturers seem to be a little more honest latley). Also note that at around 60-80mpg the law of diminishing returns kicks in.
So do the math, and be sure to consider cost of ownership of a scooter, including the bike, insurance, taxes and titles, registration, local permits, maintenance, storage, and gear (helmets, jackets, gloves, rain gear, chamois, covers, decal kits, topboxes, windscreens, crash bars, flags, helmet cams, reupholstered custom seat, scooter club memberships, little 8-ball valve covers, trailer rentals, trailer hitch installation, camping gear, tolls, booze, tools, sidecars, pregnancy tests, gremlin bells, can of corn, etc.
Then just stop waffling and buy the damn thing, you’ll love it. But don’t expect to save a lot of money unless you’re changing your lifestyle. There are lots of people trying to sell you things to make you feel more green or feel like you’re saving money, but the only way to really save money and the environment is diet and exercise. Wait, that’s not right…
*POCPhil is one of our oldest friends, a contributor to this site, and one of the very few men I’ve ever kissed. He’s also a dealer, and dealers love hyperbole, and the media loves to distill hyperbole into metahyperbole that fits the story they’ve written before they interview anyone. Phil is also running the American Motor Scooter Association, a dealer trade organization, so he’s surely going to be a scooter-industry PR machine this summer. He’s already followed up this TV appearance with a quote in the Roanoke paper. He’s an asset to both dealers and consumers, as he always has.