A Zippier Way to Get to Work

Driven by a fondness for fun and frugality, more people are choosing fuel-efficient scooters to combat auto gas prices, says writer Katie Menzer.

“It can get 80 miles per gallon, costs dimes a day to insure, and draws stares anywhere you drive it,” she said. “Scooter sales nationwide more than doubled in the past four years, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.”

Mike Mount, a spokesman for the group, said the reasons are manifold, wrote Menzer.

The cultish Vespa reintroduced itself here with an eco-friendly model in 2000, according to Mount.

In 2003 Suzuki brought us its Beefy Burgman scooter line with machines as manly as some motorcycles, according to research.

But don’t dismiss the gasoline prices, which have been eating away at drivers’ wallets for months as evidenced by statistics.

“Just ask Exxon Mobile and Chevron about it,” said Bob White, sales manager at Allen’s Maxim Motorsport shop, where scooter sales have tripled in the last year, in a recent interview.

“Everyone at work was excited when I bought it,” said Josh Bailey. “And I get great parking, right up beside the door.”

No wonder he is revved up about his Vespa: Besides being a joy to ride, writes Menzer.

Nancy Rodriguez, an administrative coordinator for the city of Plano, TX, bought her scooter two weeks before gasoline hit $3 a gallon last year, she said.

“I got to save on gas but it is really fun,” she reported.

Cheap, cheap scooters can cost less than a grand, although consumers should expect to pay about $2,000 for a vehicle that can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour, according to Menzer.

“You go anywhere else in the world and scooters are very popular,” said Jon Seidel, a spokesman for American Honda’s motorcycle division.

Jeff Cogburn, a McKinney, TX resident and founder of the North Texas Scooter Club, said his group of scooter lovers has grown from six members in 2004 to 350 today, a recent article stated.

“I can’t take my scooter to the gas pump without people asking me a bunch of questions about it,” he said in the article.

Although most scooters have a step-through design and automatic transmissions, they are classified as motorcycles under Texas law, according to literature.

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