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Gas Mileage

Discover how the high gas mileage of scooters can save you money.

Scooter engines come in a range of sizes, each suited to a different driving environment. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Scooter engines come in a range of sizes, each suited to a different driving environment.

When gas prices go up, scooters, with their excellent gas mileage, become more attractive to consumers. In 2006, the Motorcycle Industry Council reported 14 solid years of steadily increasing scooter sales. In the first half of 2008 alone, sales increased by 65 percent. Americans are finally beginning to discover what people all over Europe, Asia and Latin America have known for decades: Scooters have great fuel economy, and are stylish to boot.

Scooter engines come in a range of sizes, each of which is best suited to a different driving environment. Generally speaking, the smaller the engine, the better the gas mileage. However, even scooters with relatively large engines can still get more than 60 mpg -- some get close to 100 mpg. Specs like these are getting people's attention as they consider how to cut back.

Gas Mileage: Cars vs. Scooters

According to Autotropolis, the 2008 Toyota Prius had the highest EPA combined mileage of its year at 46 mpg. By contrast, the SYM RV 260, a scooter capable of reaching 71.5 mph, gets over 80 mpg. The standard Toyota Corolla had the ninth best EPA combined mileage at 31 mpg.

Those who want to calculate the total costs of driving to and from work can refer to the calculator from Commute Solutions. It t is clear that those who scrap their cars in favor of scooters on the daily commute quickly see savings. Scooter Station, a dealer in Portland, Ore., estimates that commuting 20 miles in a car each day adds up to $1095 a year in fuel costs, assuming gas prices remain at $3.00 and the car gets average mileage. Switching to a SYM HD 200, which gets over 67 mph, would bring fuel costs down to only $292 a year.

Engine Displacement, Speed and Gas Mileage

Laws regulating scooters vary by state, but generally speaking, a scooter may be either a moped or a motorcycle depending on the size of its engine. Usually, a moped has less than 50cc engine displacement and can go no faster than 30 mph. In this case, the scooter might be treated as a bicycle or skateboard in the eyes of the law, though some states require a moped license. Still, 50cc models can be an efficient way for riders to get around in small towns or downtown areas that have low-speed traffic. These scooters get the best gas mileage, often in excess of 110 mpg.

Those who regularly drive in the city or suburbs should be able to easily reach speeds of between 45 and 55 mph on their scooters to keep up with traffic. Such speeds require a 150cc engine, which can get anywhere from 60 to 90 mpg. This is also the minimum engine size needed to navigate hills. Drivers who take the highway to work should consider buying a scooter with a 250cc engine, which will get 40 mpg on the low end, all the way up to 80 mpg.

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