Sunday, July 30, 2006

Scooter Nation

Vestal Vespa's not wrong. People luv scooters. I'd love one, too, if I didn't have kids to shuttle about.
Denver, host to two national scooter rallies this weekend, has averaged seventh of 210 U.S. metro-area markets in scooter sales for three years motoring - remarkable given the region's cold-weather months.


The scooter population has grown 308 percent in the Denver metro area since 2000 and 317 percent statewide, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, a national advocacy group based in Irvine, Calif.

Besides being fun, stylish and popular the scooters are a way to patriotically serve the nation.
An average scooter gets 85 miles per gallon and is driven 3,500 miles a year. And the average car in the U.S. gets 22.4 mpg. So Denver-area scooter drivers could be responsible for as many as 1.2 million gallons of unburned fuel a year.

One thing I didn't know about scooters, though, is that they are exempt from stopping at stop signs. I learned that today when an old fart on a scooter blasted through a stop sign as I stepped onto the crosswalk. I said, "Nice stop," to him, but he didn't hear. He probably had one of those helmets with a built-in radio so he's exempted from pulling over for emergency vehicles, too.

But for the crowd who don't like to violate traffic laws like scooters require (facetiousness), or those with families to tote, another cool option are electric cars, like the GEM, which radio talk show host Ed Schultz recently bought. They have the added benefit of doors and heaters for the winter.

Of course, many of us still don't practice what we preach. My husband and I just got a second car that's less fuel-efficient than our main car; it's a Buick LeSabre. But the price was way below blue book and it is in excellent shape, so it won't be breaking down any time soon. It had one owner, a 97-year-old man who only drove it to church. We won't be using it much more than that. It's mainly for those occasional days when we both need a car at the same time.

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