Ditching Your Car for a Scooter Doesnt Cut Emissions

Automobile Staff
2009 Honda Ruckus Scooter

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

If scooters make up 1% of total emissions, and cars make up the other 99%, scooters are not at all equal to or more polluting than cars and trucks. Leaf blowers and lawn mowers are more toxic than scooters. Scooters use less fuel to transport a person the same distance as an automobile.
Pure Speculation. Where is the data? I have heard this argument over and over but no one has the numbers. Has anyone studied a modern 4cycle 150cc (arguably the most common, middle of the road sized) scooter?What are the CO2 and particulate emissions? And most importantly what are the emissions per mile traveled? That is the most important number. You cannot conclude that just because emissions regulations may be lax for scooters that all scooters are polluters.

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