For Fun and Fuel Efficient Transportation, Try a Motorized Scooter

Want to get around town easily while having some fun? You can do just that on a scooter. No, not those little scooters that are so popular with young kids these days, but a motorized scooter that will let you feel the wind blow through your hair and allow you to enjoy the outdoors. Plus, with the combination of high gas prices and increasingly congested traffic, fuel efficient motorized scooters are growing more attractive everyday.

These gas-powered scooters are especially nice for people who like the economy and the freedom of a motorcycle but fear the big machines. Imagine all those quick trips to the store to pick up one forgotten item. A scooter is so fuel efficient that it will make the trip on less gas than you’ll use just to back the SUV out of the garage. Pulling into a crowded parking lot? No problem for an easy-to-drive scooter that will slip into a tiny space.

In general, scooters are easy to maneuver. The engine is right in front of the rear wheel, which means you mount the scooter just by stepping through and sitting down. You sit upright with your feet in front of you, rather than straddling the bike. Most scooters have automatic transmissions, no clutches, and bicycle-style brakes with hand levers.

Have we emphasized enough that scooters and mopeds are gas sippers? Just how fuel efficient are they?

The big ones get up to 60 miles per gallon, and the smaller ones may get up to 80. The DiTech has a 2 stroke 49cc engine that revs high and only weighs about 200 pounds. The GSMotorWorks scooters pictured on this page also weigh less than 200 pounds, carry between 240-270 pounds, and get 60-80 miles per gallon. Scooters with engines under 50cc, like many of these, do not even have to be registered in some states.You’ll be hard pressed to find a more fuel efficient way to get around town.

What is the price range to buy a scooter?

DiTech and scooters like it start at under $3,000. Next step up is a bike like the Honda HMC, which can carry you and a passenger, and sells for around $5,000. And the big boys, like Yamaha’s YAMCY start at around $6,000. Or browse the GSMotorWorks Web site ( for true variety and several scooters that are under $1,000.

The downside?

Obviously weather can be a factor. The fact that you can’t carry much cargo is another. And then of course, there is the speed. For small scooters, the top speed is less than 50 miles per hour, so it is best for short trips. But scooters that are mid-size and up can reach highway speeds.

Also, unless your state doesn’t require it you might need a special driver’s license. Usually this includes a one-day motorcycle rider’s course. You’ll also need a helmet (about $50 on the GSMotorWorks Web site) and insurance. Depending on your driving record and your age, insurance may run only $5 to $10 per month. Check with your DMV to learn what your state requires for motorcycle riders.

In spite of the insurance and helmet costs, with gas prices what they are, you might very well find that your scooter or moped pays for itself in fuel efficiency in a short time. But more than that, you might discover a fun new hobbyâÂ?¦ riding around free and easy with the wind blowing through your hair. That’s why scooter salesmen will tell you that in recent months, sales have doubled and tripled, and are still climbing. They’re equally popular with senior citizens and with college students who want easy, affordable transportation around town or around campus.

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