Scooternista does the math

Scooternista, a new scooter blog, follows “Modelcarguy” and his quest for two (or three) wheels. The perspective is interesting as he’s not really sure what he wants (he’s leaning towards an Ape or Bajaj threewheeler at the moment) and he’s not entirely sold on the scooter concept to begin with, so his indecision is our gain. Like us, he was dubious of the “scooter economy” promised by Piaggio’s Vespanomics site (and every other scooter company, dealer, and newspaper article). He did the math related to his situation and found what we suspected– in most cases, there are better reasons than economics to buy a scooter.

We’re working on a story outlining the successes (we’re happy to report there are some!) and shortcomings of Piaggio’s “Vespanomics” and “Open Letter to Mayors” PR campaigns, look for it later this week. Please get in touch if you have any insight.

2 thoughts on “Scooternista does the math”

  1. Modelcarguy has made a model and done some math to determine “payback time” for owning a scooter and his model and math seem reasonable, except for one significant omission:

    If you include the initial capital investment cost of the scooter, you’ve got to be balanced and also consider the equity value of the scooter in your economic model. You bought the scooter; you didn’t rent it. In other words, at year 9, you’ve made back your inital investment, plus, you’re sittin on a scooter that you can throw up on ebay. So, at year 9, you’re not even, rather you’re ahead of the game by the value of the used scooter.

    Also, it would be significant to figure in the reduce per mile maintenence costs (wear and tear) for every mile you drive a scooter in place of the car. If you figured equity and maintnenance in, I bet you’d be down to 5 year payback time. (We’ll leave out the increased possibility of medical expenses….)

    We could nickel and dime the model to death (cost of helmets, cheaper parking, etc)…. But let’s take modelcarguy’s model at face value. My real point, is that an 9 year payback time, well, that ain’t bad at all. About on par with payback time for average college education. If I could get a 9 year payback time for fully equipping my house with photovoltaic solar power, I’d do it! (It’s about 50 years payback time where I live.)

    And consider that if you do bail early on your scootering lifestyle, you’re not really ending up too much in the red, if at all, thanks to the excellent retained value of scooters. Let’s say you only ride your scooter 3 years, you’re just not as into as you were at first, and then you sell it. Well, if you sell it for $2K (a reasonable resale price for a 3-year old 150cc), and you saved about $340/year in gas for 3 years (about 1k total in gas savings), then you’ve about broken even if you paid 3k for the scooter in the first place, right?

    I’ll throw in that if you extend your model from just looking at microscopic economic effects, to a more broad economic and moral model, then you’re even more ahead of the game by being a scooter owner. Meaning, there are additional positive social benefits due to reduced resource use and pollution. Though, admittedly, that doesn’t impact the individual’s pocketbook….anyway, my point is, Scooternomics makes sense, plus you should feel good about being a scooterer.

    It’s an investment in your future.

  2. You can “run the numbers” a million different ways, and it certainly does make sense sometimes. Buying a scooter usually makes more sense than buying a car, for instance, if your in a situation where a scooter would suffice. A scooter rather than a second car is often a good idea. It really comes down to the individual. There are always ways to work the numbers to make your argument. It’d be fun to work out a few different scenarios and see what comes up… how does financing the scooter on credit affect the numbers? What is the mileage/life expectancy of a new scooter? What are the maintenance and licensing fees of a scooter vs. several different kinds of cars? Resale value? Insurance? There’s a lot to think about. A calculator to determine your personal benefit would be great, any programmers want to make one for 2strokebuzz?

    So I don’t know why “Vespanomics” comes off as sinister to me, I guess I’m just conditioned to be suspicious of marketing disguised as science. There are some good facts there, but there’s also some totally biased PR gibberish. Which is fine, it’s their thing, but I just feel one of my duties as an independent scooter publication (of sorts) with no ties to any advertising or anything to at least try to find the truth in such matters. Usually this amounts to hypercritically bashing everything.

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