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Gas Saver: Rise of the Scooter Commuter

Vespas and other scooters aren’t just a fad. They’re money savers, especially when it comes to saving on gas. Here’s why you should consider getting one.

Cheaper All Around

Switching from driving a car to a scooter could save you a lot of money. If you’re part of a two-car family, you may consider swapping out one of your cars, for example.

With a scooter, you can fill your tank for about $5, travel at highway speeds (up to about 90 miles per hour on a 500 cc scooter) and get between 50 and 90 miles per gallon, says Scott Merritt, spokesman of Piaggio Group Americas, the maker of Vespa scooters. “There’s no comparison even with a hybrid [car]."

And in a new deal with Costco Wholesale (Stock Quote: COST), Costco members can get a $250 gift card if they buy a scooter at a Vespa dealership. And that’s plenty of money to fill your tank - and your stomach - several times.

Easier Parking

To promote the use of gas-saving, lower-emission scooters, several cities across the country are designating scooter-only parking, and some offer it free.

In Atlanta, for example, three individual car spaces can be split into fifteen scooter spaces, and scooter-only parking is available throughout the city, according to Brandware Public Relations research.

Additionally, the University of Wisconsin at Madison has adopted guidelines that new buildings should provide at least one scooter space for every 20 occupants of a building, except at residence halls, where the minimum number of spaces is one for every ten occupants.

A Social Bonus

Scooters are rapidly gaining in popularity. In Denver, for instance, the number of scooters on the road in Denver went up 308% to about 10,000 between 2000 and 2006, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council research.

And if you’re a lone driver, there are several events and social gatherings across the country promoting transportation alternatives where you can meet other scooter enthusiasts and learn more about scooters. Both Seattle and Atlanta host an annual Scooter Community Day.

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Read More:   budget & save, wheels
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