Stop Making Exxon Executives Richer: Buy a Scooter

With Exxon surpassing big box retailer Wal-Mart for the top spot on this year’s Fortune 500 list, it’s no surprise that many consumers are feeling a strain on their wallets. The unfortunate thing is most experts predict the average price of gasoline in the United States will soar above $3.00 per gallon, possibly even about $4.00 per gallon by 2007.

While hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius, are all the rage and a great way to save on fuel bills, most consumers find the price tag unjustified. Toyota’s Prius, a mid-sized sedan, is actually the best-selling hybrid in the United States and sells for 24K-28K, depending on the region. Even then, most consumers have to sit on a waiting list for weeks before they can receive their hybrid.

A great alternative for folks on a tight budget comes in the form of two wheels – a scooter. Like its cousin the motorcycle, gas-powered scooters get great gas mileage, with some models getting over 100 MPG. For most riders, a scooter has distinct advantages over a traditional motorcycle.

First off, scooters are much less intimidating for first-timers, especially women. Scooters come in all sizes that will even fit the most diminutive frames of petite women. The engines as well come in various sizes from 50cc’s, which are perfect for use in town to run errands, to over 150cc’s, which rival the speed of a traditional motorcycle and can be driven on the highway.

While scooters do range widely in cost, online retailers such as offer 50cc models as low as $799, including delivery right to your doorstep. On the high end of the scooter market is the Vespa. Vespa, a name that is almost synonymous with “scooter”, sells new models for $2500 on up.

Regardless of your choice in make and model, most will pay for themselves after a year or two of usage just with the savings in gasoline over a traditional vehicle.

Another bonus of scooter ownership, especially in the city or commuting to a crowded college campus is parking. It is much easier to find room to park in close proximity to where you are going. Many universities even let scooter owners park on or near their bicycle racks, which can also eliminate the cost of a parking pass each semester.

Granted you aren’t going to drive your child’s soccer teammates to practice with a scooter, but many of them are built with enough room and power to commute two people. Also, with trunks that latch to the rear end of the motorized vehicle and under the seat storage, trips to the grocery store are a breeze.

Just as cars vary in style from an economical compact care to a fancy sports car built for speed, scooters also widely vary to fit a rider’s personality. There are sporty scooters such as the Wasp Scooter from that mimic the design of racing motorcycles like the Kawasaki Ninja. The newest trend in scooters are retro designs that are modeled mostly after old Vespa and Lambretta scooters of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Manufacturers such as Chinese scooter maker Geely and the ever-popular Meitian brand have models that are truly a beautiful blast from the past.

Regardless of your choice in style or performance, a well-cared for scooter will provide many years of transportation and enjoyment that will keep you laughing all the way to the gas pumps.

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