Saturday, June 09, 2007

Chinese Scooters Offer Low Cost, High MPG, Low Carbon Imprint Alternative To Automobiles

China produces 12 million motorbikes of various types each year. This is equal to 60% of the world's moped, motorscooter and motorcycle production. Next to the use of bicycyles in China, motorbikes of various types are the second most common form of transportation, although automobiles are rapidly increasing in China.

But in the U.S., these Chinese made motorbikes suddenly seem to make a great deal of sense. Some of these scooters like the beautiful TANK Urban Sporty pictured above which comes in both 49.6cc and 150cc versions gets between 73-100 miles per gallon according to owners. The 49.6cc version can be licensed in the U.S. as a moped because it has speed regulation equipment limiting the top speed to 30mph. However, clever scooter fans know how to later remove this equipment and turn these scooters into a 45-50mph small street screamer, and yet get great miles per gallon due to the small but very dependable engines in the established TANK models, some of which offer a 3 year warranty, and some are available for under $1,000 in the U.S., or far less than a well used car.

Quality varies greatly in Chinese made scooters and motorcycles, although is constantly improving as some brands like TANK now rank among some of the best of the world in price for quality among motorscooters. The TANK models are also produced for another American distributor, COOLSTER and the F5 model is nearly identical to the Urban Sporty except for the paint schemes.

With gas prices hitting the sky with only slight relief, the Chinese made scooters suddenly look like a good alternative to the big 3,000lb. automobile with poor mpg and high insurance costs. Generally the insurance and other costs are far lower with a scooter. Some insurance can be bought for as little as $70-120 on the low side and to over $500 a year on the high side with full coverage of the bike and full theft insurance as well as towing benefits in the event of a mechanical breakdown.

The Chinese made scooter is quickly becoming a decent alternative to the automobile and deserves a good first or second look by those wanting to lessen their carbon imprint on the earth with these low pollution transportation vehicles that are a real kick to drive. So far the scooter has made a huge imprint on society in Britain and parts of Europe as well as Asia, but is yet to make a bigger impression on the U.S. market where automobiles are still king and big SUVs reign, but high gas prices are causing some motorists to rebel.


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