Gas prices, scooter sales zooming up
For Todd Duxbury, a Honda Metropolitan scooter has taken the place of his full-size Chevrolet Blazer for most of his in-town transportation needs. Nearly every day, Duxbury, of Mitchell, drives to work at Napa Auto Parts on the scooter he bought ...
For Todd Duxbury, a Honda Metropolitan scooter has taken the place of his full-size Chevrolet Blazer for most of his in-town transportation needs.
Nearly every day, Duxbury, of Mitchell, drives to work at Napa Auto Parts on the scooter he bought in 2003 for $1,700. He purchased the economical scooter because gas prices were increasing even then.
So his 1969 Blazer, which gets about 10 miles per gallon, is out. The scooter gets between 80 to 100 miles per gallon.
"It is a nice little scoot," he said. "I can get by now for about $3 bucks."
Duxbury is one of a growing number of residents who are buying scooters to help offset the high gas prices.
Mike Thome, co-owner of Honda of Mitchell, said interest in the two-wheeled vehicles has been strong because of gas prices that now are at or near $3 per gallon. His business has seen a corresponding increase in sales.
"You can't find motorized transportation cheaper than that," Thome said.
Scott Studer, owner of Palace Motosports Inc., in Mitchell, said scooter sales have increased 50 to 60 percent since last year. He said 90 percent of those sales are economy driven.
"I think, partially, people are getting more involved in two-wheel vehicles," Studer said. "They are an easier way to get around town."
Studer noticed increase in sales about two years ago.
An average scooter, depending on the brand and size, can range in price from $1,800 to $2,000 and gets anywhere from 80-110 mpg.
"I've put on about 2,500 miles," Duxbury said. "I think it's paid for itself."
Duxbury said that while filling the one-gallon tank for around $3 is an advantage, there are some disadvantages.
"You can't haul much," he said, although his scooter has storage unit under the seat big enough to hold a helmet, a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk.
Speed is another disadvantage. Duxbury's scooter tops out at about 38 mph -- slow enough that, "you won't be going to Letcher."
But there are advantages, other than gas mileage.
Weighing about 100 pounds, almost anyone can maneuver a scooter, Thome said, "Ease of operation -- there is no clutching, no shifting and electric starts," he said.
Mitchell Police Sgt. Dave Beintema said there are a number of laws for scooters in the city limits. To operate a scooter, an active Class 1 driver's license is required. Operaters do not need a motorcycle endorsement if the scooter is less than 50cc.
Scooter operators 18 and older need to wear eye protection and those younger than 18 need to wear a helmet, he said. Also, individual under 14 cannot operate a scooter on a city street. For those with a learner's permit, an adult with a valid driver's license must be riding next to them.
Also, the scooter must be insured, and have a headlight and a taillight/brake light, mirror and horn.
No driver's license and wearing no eye protection are the most common type of violations, Beintema said.