Scooters vs. SUVs… POLLUTE!

Fri, Oct 24, 2008


It’s a good old-fashioned pollute-off! Fox wanted to do a story on how scooters pollute more than the biggest SUV. I wanted to give scooters a chance to defend themselves. We gathered up a group of Austin’s best to eat pizza, drink beer and burn oil.

, , ,

10 Responses to “Scooters vs. SUVs… POLLUTE!”

  1. RickRussellTX Says:

    I was somewhat surprised to see a CARB official on TV make the claim that an uncertified Chinese knock-off would put out as much pollution as 10 SUVs. Turns out, he was not far off. Even using 1/5 of the fuel (or less) and complying with the stricter Euro3 emissions standards, scooters and motorcycles emit something like 5X the NOx compounds and hydrocarbons as a typical passenger car.


  2. BM Says:

    Yet another prime example of a typical balance unbiased news report from a fox affiliate. Want to take any bets on the commercial sponsors of the news that day?


  3. Anonymous Says:

    Nevertheless, it’s time to abandon two-stroke altogether. It’s very old fashioned, smelly and it’s noisy. Electric is the next step for scooters. My next scooter will be electric.


  4. Tim Says:

    Yes, a 2 stroke engine will have higher emissions but it is composed of larger, heavier particles that settle out of the atmosphere quickly and don’t float off into the air to produce smog or pollution like a 4 stroke engine. Combined with cleaner burning synthetic oils a 2 stroke can be very environmentally friendly.


  5. ScooterScoop Says:

    Rick! Thanks for the insight. I know most of the major players are still in the Euro 3 range for 2009 even while they hammer out the Euro 6 standard. Maybe if Scooters went with a modern diesel they’d have a chance of making Euro 5.

    I’m counting on a shift to mass production electric happening before a shift to mass production diesel… or maybe a serial hybrid where a tiny diesel chugs along at its maximum efficiency generating electricity to charge the scooter’s batteries which provide power to the electric motors.

    BM! You sayin’ Fox ain’t fair and BALANCED?! ;) I tell you what though, I’m just glad someone is giving scooters a little airtime.

    Anon! Keep an eye out for the sister site to TheScooterScoop called EVpulse. We should have more exciting electric news in 2009.

    Tim! It’s just like diesel. In Europe they’ve got lots of diesels that have better fuel efficiency and lower emissions than the petrol versions we have in the States. I’m sure our good buddy Pedro in Portugal could shed some light on this.

    I understand that Aprilia DiTech is a pretty clean 2 stroker.


  6. Derek Says:

    “Yet another prime example of a typical balance unbiased news report from a fox affiliate. Want to take any bets on the commercial sponsors of the news that day?”

    I think you are being serious but I don’t get it. If we watched the same video, I’m not sure why you’d say that. From the video I saw, I was actually pretty surprised at how balanced it was. They could have easily pretended that there was no difference from vintage scooters vs modern but instead made the point several times to say that the modern 4 stroke scooters don’t have this pollution issue.


  7. Steve Says:

    Hey Derek! I had hoped to have some influence over the direction of the story. Every time I was asked about pollution I tried to emphasize that not ALL scooters are “worse polluters than the biggest SUV”. Tried to answer in a way that guided the context instead of being used out of context. I’m not sure the story would have ended the same way if I didn’t know where they were going with it… Plus, I’ll give them some credit. Austin’s Fox isn’t the quite the same as national Fox.

    I’ve seen some stories go pretty bad before… you know, the reporter says “Wow! These are great! Hey can you do me a favor?! Get all the 2-strokers over here and make me the biggest cloud of blue smoke you can! Right in this spot. We’ll catch it on tape and the people will LOVE it!”

    Then it shows up on the 5 o’clock news as “We caught this band of rowdy scooterists trying to kill a baby tree just planted at the local orphanage for the blind.”


  8. Eric Says:

    I like the points brought up but overall it came across as shoddy journalism. They never identified the lady in front of the fountain very well (and who interviews someone in front of a loud fountain). Also, none of their data directly addressed scooters, all of their data was based on motorcycles and was then trickled down to scooters. I the end I was left to feel like many words were used but nothing was said.

    I was glad to participate in the run and see my scoot on the video, but I really do feel that some more mainstream education about the emissions differences of a car/suv/2-stroke/4-stroke/chinese/japanese need to be addressed.
    Also it is worth looking at the initial footprint as scooters are significantly easier to manufacture and transport in their crates than cars. I am willing to bet that before the engine is ever cranked up, a scooter already has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than any car, especially a ton of sheet metal in an V8 SUV with 100lbs of leather seats versus my 300lb scooter.


  9. Danny Hooligan Says:

    I rather enjoyed having my scooter (red and white ’79 Vespa P200) used as the example of a “bad” scooter. Later that evening, after filming, I held a torch to some polar ice caps, clubbed some baby seals and sawed down a bunch of trees. Steve and I drove our new car (half Escalade, half Hummer) to Walmart and paid way less for stuff as we threw rocks at some local business owners.

    God Bless the USA!! Right Steve?


  10. Anonymous Says:

    The car companies gotta scare all the new (and potential) scooterists that driving a 4000 lb vehicle by themselves to work and back every day is SOOO much better for the environment than these fuel efficient, congestion-easing scooters, to say nothing of the gas companies! Save a whale, drive a Hummer…what a joke…


Leave a Reply