UCLA Celebrates Rideshare Week 2014

Scooter parking at UCLA is free for students, faculty and staff.

Motor scooter use has gained popularity as an inexpensive transportation option. The public’s awareness over the last 15 years of the impact of human greenhouse gas emissions on the planet has increased, while at the same time scooter ownership has increased as a popular alternative to help counter these effects. The question many ask is: Do motorized scooters do more harm than good?

Scooters are no gas guzzling SUVs. Depending on engine size, the typical mpg for a scooter ranges from 60-100+, while a hybrid and compact car average 50 and 30 mpg, respectively. The amount of gas a vehicle burns or CO2 released into the environment is used to determine its carbon footprint. Scooters typically burn far less fuel than cars, which means its carbon footprint is a fraction of a compact car.

If scooters have a smaller carbon footprint and help to relieve traffic and parking conditions, where does the criticism come from? Scooters with 2-stroke engines produce high concentrates of pollutants, such as NO and NO2 (nitrous oxides). These gases contribute to increases in smog levels, as well as have an adverse effect on the respiratory system. Fortunately, companies and the government have taken action to resolve these issues and most scooters today have 4-stroke engines to reduce its impact on the environment.

The world of motorized scooters has come a long way, many of the same technological advancements cars have to reduce their effect on the environment are now found in a wide variety of scooters. Today, many scooters come equipped with catalytic converters, which help reduce the amount pollutants, such as nitrous oxides (NO & NO2), released into the environment.

In addition to these significant changes, companies are now producing more environmentally-friendly hybrid or fully electric scooters to help minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

So, do scooters do more harm than good or has the scooter industry responded to the public’s concerns?