Sales of Scooters Rise With Gas Prices: Would You Ever Trade in Your Car for a Motor Scooter?

News 2011/10/23 18:33:51
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With high gas prices and a sluggish economy, it’s no surprise that Americans are frequently looking for places to save some money. Consequently, more and more individuals, like Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne, are choosing to trade in their cars for motor scooters.

“People in America are starting to see scooters as a way to save money and get places faster,” said Melissa R. MacCaull, vice president of Piaggio Group Americas, which owns Vespa and Piaggio.

In the first half of this year, U.S. scooter sales were up 28.9% from the same period last year. Major brands, such as Vespa, Piaggio, Honda, and Yamaha, sold 18,198 scooters. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, scooter sales increased more than those for any other category of motorcycle.

Vespa has seen increased sales for its larger-displacement scooters. These models offer 150 cc to 300 cc engines, which allow the bikes to travel at freeway speeds. According to MacCaull, this means that more people are beginning to use motor scooters for their daily commute. Piaggio’s bestseller, the Italian-built Vespa LX 150, retails for about $4,600 to $5,000 and gets 75 miles per gallon.

Though scooters have traditionally made up only a tiny percentage of vehicle sales in the U.S., America seems to be following in the footsteps of Europe, where expensive gas and traffic-dense cities have made motor scooters much more popular.

What about you? Would you ever trade in your car for a motor scooter?

Read More: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/10/v...

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  • Magnus ☮ RP ☮ 2012 ☮ 2011/12/14 10:57:35
    Magnus ☮ RP ☮ 2012 ☮
    Kawasaki Ninja 250R, 77MPG and fun as hell! Can't wait until or if I'll ever be able to come up with the $4,500 + $1,200 in gear and the rest.
  • ko 2011/10/27 18:22:58
    A scooter makes sense in most urban settings, regardless of climate. If your commute is less than 20 miles per day (round trip) and you travel mostly surface streets, why not get 60 MPG and avoid traffic jams? BTW, many scooters can achieve 65 MPH safely and are freeway capable. These are not mopeds.

    If you like giving away your income to foreign oil companies just so you can drive with AC, no argument will make sense to you.

    Anyone else notice most who are opposed have a hard time spelling?
  • redhorse29 2011/10/27 07:28:49
    Seen to many scooter and motorcycle accidents and the damage to their owners. This is not for me.
  • Shigyrl but outspoken on my... 2011/10/27 00:45:59
    Shigyrl but outspoken on my future
    A scooter is not practical for me as a single mother of two. That lives in a small rural community and not a suburb or a city.
  • Cirsten Hahn 2011/10/26 23:57:46
    Cirsten Hahn
    Get's rather nasty to ride any type of outside bike in Michigan between Nov/March
  • Mtnsmith 2011/10/26 23:00:20 (edited)
    They make sense for commutes that don't involve interstate-style traffic (and with a car for back-up in bad weather.)

    Unfortunately, in my area at least, there is a certain... stigma attached. (They're called Likker Sickles and the drivers are all named Dewey - for DUI - since traditionally the only people driving them no longer have licenses due to certain lifestyle choices....)
  • I NEED A HORSE 2011/10/26 22:07:09
  • intolerantrwj 2011/10/26 20:34:27
    .... maybe if I lived on some sunny island, not very practical here.
  • David Sanford 2011/10/26 20:20:48
    David Sanford
    I own a Vespa, but I would never get rid of my car. You can't drive scooters in the snow and rain, it's too dangerous and cold. That's why I say no.
  • knowerseeker 2011/10/26 20:15:02
    Not in the city I currently live in, because the drivers here are far too aggressive(our car insurance jumped $50 a car when we moved here), but in the last city I lived in, sure.
  • yodler66 2011/10/26 18:46:19
    Love my Z3!
  • firelooker 2011/10/26 18:39:00
    Try getting around in a blinding snow storm on a scooter while freezing your butt off, no thanks! I'll stick w/ my four wheel drive p/u.
  • t.eliot, topbard 2011/10/26 18:09:26
    t.eliot, topbard
    I frequently use my bicycle for commuting and have considered getting a scooter as well, but I'm not set to ditch my car completely, though I am looking to further reduce its use.
  • knowers... t.eliot... 2011/10/26 20:16:36
    If I lived close enough to work and didn't have killer traffic to contend with, I would love to bicycle to work. Save gas and get fit at the same time.
  • TK 2011/10/26 17:49:20
    Scooters are great for getting to certain places but with a family of 4 it wouldn't work as a main source of transportation, having one to use to get to work or to see a friend while my children are looked after is a good way to save money.
  • Ben TK 2011/10/26 18:34:36
    Wouldn't a 4-person scooter look hilarious?
  • ppk007@... Ben 2011/10/27 00:09:50
    visit Mexico... it's common to see 4-5 persons on one scooter...
  • TK Ben 2011/11/08 02:25:44
    good idea, i'd totaly sport one of those!
  • Gimmedap 2011/10/26 17:07:15
    I'll keep my 2011 Indian though.
  • Marek 2011/10/26 16:28:23
    Let the liberal progressive useful idiots ride their motor scooters. I would keep my SUV.
    I have an idea!
    Why not elect Herman Cain / Newt Gingrich team and have John Bolton as a Secretary of State, Sarah Palin as a Secretary of Energy, Allen West as a Secretary of Defense and bring in Condoleeza Rice as the National Security adviser. Abolish EPA, department of education and IRS. Audit and abolish the Federal Reserve.
    Then pass the law that all registered democrats buy and ride scooters while all others can have a choice between a car or an SUV.
  • knowers... Marek 2011/10/26 20:19:42
    Ah, a true 1%er speaks! Ya gots lots of money for lots of gas for your guzzlers?
  • Shigyrl... Marek 2011/10/27 00:49:18
    Shigyrl but outspoken on my future
    Im with you.
  • chas 2011/10/26 16:00:13
    As primary means of transport from 1982-1993- my stable of used motorcycles served me well, riding in 20 F temperatures in winter often. Saved money-indeed. "Scooters"- best suited for smooth paved roads in Florida & California. Our bumpy Pennsylvania roads need a bigger-tire to navigate. Pennsylvania potholes
  • knowers... chas 2011/10/26 20:20:40
    I've been considering taking motorcycle lessons and switching to a motorcycle myself.
  • chas knowers... 2011/10/31 18:55:17
    A 250- 400cc motorcycle should be enough power. Insurance- super cheap, esp. if you take the "safety-classes". Good luck! Honda CB 400
  • Bill ~PWCM~JLA 2011/10/26 15:45:05
    Bill ~PWCM~JLA
    How many old scooters do you see that are not blowing blue smoke? These engines are pushed beyond their limits and in my opinion are a poor choice. My guess is many scooter riders have no training on two wheels either. I suggest people instead opt for a motorcycle if they really want two wheels. More resale value and the power to get out of the way. Along with it they need to get a motorcycle endorsement on their drivers license. If you want to save gas, get a Honda Fit. Don't quote me but I heard they get 47 mpg. That's motorcycle territory and you can ride in the winter.

    A scooter is a lazy man's bicycle
  • Bibliophilic 2011/10/26 15:13:20
    I value my privacy and I don't like people staring at me, it ticks me off. At least people can only partially see me when I'm driving. I'll ride a scooter when everyone rides one, maybe if I lived somewhere where most people walked or rode bikes I might feel more comfortable riding one. However, I enjoy having heat and AC too much to trade my car in. Oh and it's also much faster.
  • Stephen 2011/10/26 15:09:44
    Anything is possible.
  • earl 2011/10/26 14:12:54
    ah, no!
  • Rusty Shackleford 2011/10/26 12:40:45
    Rusty Shackleford
    Gallon for gallon, they pollute far more than automobiles.
  • wysiwis 2011/10/26 10:51:30
    Give up my truck?- NO!
    Ride my motorcycle when practical? Absolutely!
  • DDogbreath 2011/10/26 08:23:29
    In a heart beat, but the motor scooter would have to have "Harley Davidson" on the gas tank and it would have to be at least 88 cubic inches.
    beat motor scooter harley davidson gas tank 88 cubic inches
  • Playerazzi 2011/10/26 08:08:08
    Of course. I would prefer a motorcyle (not a scooter), but in general, I would prefer 2 wheels.

    The "problem" I have is that my car is Company Leasing, which means I pay a flat fee off of my gross wage (before taxes), and the leasing company takes care of everything, including gas. So, it's not worth it for me to change.
  • knowers... Playerazzi 2011/10/26 20:23:13
    Well ain't you lucky, Mr. 1%er.
  • garyt212 2011/10/26 05:47:43 (edited)
    NFW....that's just gay and impratical ....LOL! :) motor scooter stuck in snow
  • us 2011/10/26 03:49:45
    What would I do in the winter to go to work, doctor office.
  • knowers... us 2011/10/26 20:23:41
    Wear a coat?
  • Yes
    Sounds like fun.
  • SharkKiller 2011/10/26 02:01:41
    But then, I own a BMW 740iL, a Mercedes Benz E320, a HD FatBoy and a Honda Shadow. When gas prices go up...I saddle up my scooter and ride. *chuckle*
  • knowers... SharkKi... 2011/10/26 20:24:23
    Lotta 1%ers on here. No wonder there are so many libertarians too.
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