I touched on this in blog posts that I wrote in 2008:
Is Money the Only Reason to Ride a Scooter
$4 Gas is Waking Up America
Truthfully, $4 gas prices suck, but only someone who already owns a scooter will be laughing as s/he passes up the pump. If you park your Prius, but a brand new Vespa and expect to see the money pile up in your bank account, you will be in for a surprise. If you drive an old V8 truck from the 70s 20 miles roundtrip to work each day, and decided to dig your old P200 out of the garage, give it a tune-up and do the commute on the scoot while parking the truck, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Most people are somewhere in between and will need to really crunch the numbers to see if buying a new scooter makes financial sense.
There are lots of other considerations: insurance, scooter maintenance, and how often one will actually forgo the car for the scooter.
Costs to conisder:
- Purchase price
- Interest if financing the purchase
- Scheduled maintenance (differs from cars)
- Wear & Tear (some scooters require new tires every 2K miles)
- Insurance (make sure your policy includes uninsured motorist)
- Riding gear (clothing, helmet, gloves, rain gear etc)
- Security (locks, parking)
- Oil (if you are running a 2-stroke, you have to account for the cost of 2T oil)
I realize that I may sound like a negative nan, raining on the "higher gas = buy a scooter" parade, but I want to get above the rote sound bites that the media may be offering now. Scooters are seriously great fun to ride, but I consider the fuel economy to be a bonus. Already having a scooter (65mpg) in my garage that I bought 14 years ago makes the gas savings apparent when I choose it over my Mini (39mpg), but if I went out today and bought a new $3k scooter, I think it would take me a few years to realize savings.
Benefits above $$ to consider:
- Riding a scooter is fun!
- Better parking (scooters fit in smaller places; I park closer to my destination with a scooter)
- Taking up less space than a car (on the road, in the garage, in my life)
- Splitting lanes in California *only* (I like being able to move to the front of a long line of cars at a stoplight. I don't splits lanes when traffic is moving)
Blog entry soundtrack: