Monday, June 09, 2008

$4 a gallon is waking up America

I've been riding scooters for about 12 years. Before that I owned cars that got excellent gas mileage, my current car gets 36mpg on the highway. I looked many models but scoffed at the 20 or 25mpg that they offered. I've been fuel-conscious for some time. But it doesn't surprise me that Americans are starting to feel the pinch of gas prices. We've had it too good for too long. When I was in England in 2004 it was about 80p per litre, which I figured was over $5 a gallon when the conversion was factored in. So, to them our $4/gallon is nothing. However,when we told some of our English acquaintances that we drove 800 miles in one week they were shocked at the distance. So, I guess their gas prices keep them from driving very far, which is what is happening here. Unfortunately, since America is one huge country we often don't blink an eye at driving an hour or so to work each day.

So.. my point is that scooters are now a hot topic for people who are looking for any way to save money on gas. But what many people (especially the media) overlook is the total ownership benefits that scooters provide:
1) Soaring gas prices: Scooters get between 40-100 mpg depending upon the model.
2) Low Operation Costs: purchase price, fuel, insurance, and maintenance are all considerably lower. Personally, I have 2 scooters insured for $120 per year.
3) Better parking and mobility: Scooters are more nimble on crowded city streets and can park in spots that cars could never fit. Moreover, many cities are encouraging scooter traffic by creating free or discount scooter parking. I have several examples of cities that have done so.
4) Lower-emissions: Today’s scooters are much more environmentally friendly than cars. Some models are even Zero Emision Vehicles, powered by electricity.
5) Fun!: Scooters are a blast to ride. Folks find them less intimidating, less expensive and more versatile than motorcycles. They are more fun to drive than most cars and commuting on a scooter makes the trip more pleasant.

There are lots of articles in magazines, on TV and online, but most overlook the total picture. When you are approached by people asking about the fuel-efficiency of scooters, don't forget to tell them of the other benefits.

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