I've seen tons of scooters on the road (and sometimes sidewalks) this summer. It seems people are ditching their cars due to gas prices. Since scooters get such good gas mileage they must be good for the environment, right?
Well, it turns out those scooters aren't subject to the same strict emissions requirements as a car or truck. Even motorcycles get a reprieve in the emissions department. So riding a motorcycle or scooter will cut down on your fuel bill, but it will actually be worse for the quality of air and increase smog when compared to a car.
Cars and trucks produce more emissions than scooters and motorcycles, but the exhaust system on a car is much more sophisticated and traps those pollutants before they reach the atmosphere. Two-wheeled toys produce fewer emissions, but let more pollution go to the atmosphere.
The emissions regulations allow motorcycles and scooters to emit 23 times the pollutants of a car or truck. Since two-wheelers make up such a small percentage of vehicles on U.S. roads (about 1 percent), it hasn't been cost-effective to place the same emissions requirements on scooters and motorcycles. It's also difficult to fit the complex emission control devices on scooters and motorcycles.
So don't let the people on scooters make you feel bad for commuting in a car. They certainly aren't saving the planet by using two-wheeled transportation.
Source: Idaho Statesman