Those high gas prices that surge from time to time really make us question how we get where need to go. Scooters can be a part of the gas saving solution, but scooters are cheaper than cars by far.
Despite this fact, it can still be a bit difficult to ditch a car for a scooter after using a car for a very long time. However, there are several benefits to owning a scooter over a car, and this post will focus on the most popular one. That is: The cost of owning a scooter.
In general, scooters are cheaper than cars due to the cost at purchase, operating costs like gas and insurance, as well as, standard maintenance and repair prices.
Are you considering changing your car for a scooter? Have you wondered if it is actually worth it to get a scooter and dump your car? Have you always wondered if scooters truly are cheaper than cars? Then stick around for more details.
Will riding a scooter actually save you money over driving a car? The simple answer is yes! Wondering how? Here are a few things that I shall discuss to prove that scooters are actually cheaper than cars.
1. Purchase Price
You can’t help but see the cost savings by simply shopping for a car vs a scooter. The cost price of a scooter is by far lower than that of a car.
In general, you can expect to save 91% by buying a scooter over a car or 84% when compared to only those capable of highway speeds for extended periods of time.
The cost of a scooter can be around $1,000 for the really cheap versions that you can find on Amazon with no dealer support and can be as high as $10,000 for the top of the line models that can cross 100 miles per hour that will show you pictures of your dog on your dash and have built-in heated grips.
According to Kelly Blue Book, the average price of a car is $47,000. There are several factors in play there, but the supply and demand factor impacts the scooter market, as well.
The average scooter costs $4,100. Now this includes scooters that are restricted to 30 miles per hour (mph) but also those with car-like speeds of beyond 80 mph. Even if I look at just those that can go beyond 80 mph according to the manufacturer, the average scooter costs $7,700
2. Maintenance Savings
The cost of maintaining scooters is another area where you’ll save over a car. There are a few reasons for this.
First, scooters just don’t hold as much fluids. When you’re changing oil, most cars take as little as 4 quarts or as much as 9 quarts with most in the 5-6 quart range. Scooters take under 1 quart. That said, scooters do need more frequent oil changes than new cars that can go 10k miles between them, but at .75 quarters per time, it still comes in under.
And that’s just engine oil.
Think about the tires. There are 4 on a car, so naturally, the 2 vs 4 comes into play. However, scooter tires are also smaller.
According to Discount Tire, the average cost for All-Season tires for just a 12-15″ wheel size is $80-150. I expect to pay $50-75 for a tire for my scooters with 10-13″ wheel sizes. This can add up to half the price per tire before multiplying by how many you need.
If you are even a bit mechanically inclined, you might not have to take your scooter to the mechanic’s shop to fix it. I certainly do my own oil changes, but I take the heavier maintenance and repairs to a local small business. Those car oil changes or even a minor issue send me straight to the mechanic.
3. Fuel Costs
The size of a scooter engine is smaller than that of a car, so the fuel tank will also be small. This is likely what led you to scooters if you didn’t already have a passing interest after seeing some iconic movies with scooters.
Scooters have good mileage, and the amount of fuel they will consume is just less than that of a car.
In general, scooters get 3-4 times the fuel efficiency. The average fuel economy for scooters is 91 miles per gallon while cars average 26 miles per gallon.
This means the amount of money that will be spent on fueling a scooter to commute around town is lower than that of a car.
4. Insurance is Cheaper Than Car
The cost of insuring a scooter is relatively small due to its small size and cost.
Think about it. If you’re insuring something with the expectation that it might need to be replaced, we’re back to the average $47k for a car vs $4k for a scooter. They’re cheaper to replace.
Also, how much damage will you do to other property on a scooter vs a car. It’s just a night and day difference in what an insurance company can expect to pay out.
That said, insurance cost depends on several factors like location, type of insurance, and so much more.
The average cost of car insurance in the US is $1,771 per year for full coverage according to BankRate. Progressive says the average annual motorcycle premium is $180.
That’s a huge savings. I know in our house of 3 drivers and 2 cars, we pay $250 a month for our full coverage with increased limits whereas we pay $160 for a year for the 3 scooters.
It’s an impressive difference!
5. Taxes are Less
The tax you might need to pay on scooters is also smaller than that required on a car.
A scooter’s tax rate is dependent on the size of its engine, and of course, scooter engine sizes are small, so yeah, a scooter’s tax rate will be lower than what you can expect to pay for a car whether you’re talking sales tax at purchase or an annual property tax some states require.
6. Parking Costs are a Fraction
Parking cars can be a hassle for most drivers. From even finding a parking space to parking fees. However, scooter riders are lucky as they can easily find space to park their scooters, and in most cases, they do not have to pay parking fees or reduced ones.
Be aware that not all parking lots allow scooters to park for free. Some collect money, but even at this, the cost of parking a scooter in a public parking lot is not as expensive as that of a car.
We’re doing some college shopping, we’re having a good time looking at the cost of parking on Texas campuses. University of Houston‘s cheapest standard parking is $455 versus a motorcycle permit of $95. Texas Tech is $263 vs $66 for motorcycle. We’re finding that across campus transportation policies. It’s cheaper to park a scooter!
Added Costs by Owning a Scooter
It’s definitely cheaper to own a scooter, but did you know there are costs to expect that you won’t have for a car? Regardless, even if you go wild here, scooters are cheaper than cars. Still.
Expect the following additional costs if you decide to get a scooter:
You Need Safety Gear
You are absolutely exposed when not driving in a box, so you’ll certainly want to get some level of protection.
At a minimum, you should expect to get a helmet and eye protection, but gloves, jackets, boots, and special jeans are advised.
➡️➡️Read more: What to Wear on a Scooter ⬅️⬅️
You’ll also want to have gear to help you handle weather like special gear for staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Although these gears are not needed when using a car, they are affordable and still not expensive enough to make riding scooters more expensive than cars.
In some states, you might need to enroll in a compulsory course so that riding a scooter can be added to your existing driver’s license. States have varying rules, but if you are required (or want) to take the a motorcycle safety course like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course.
For me, this cost around $350 and was mandatory. Even though it was mandatory, I’d recommend taking it even if it isn’t for you. It was that insightful and helpful.
You might also need to buy some accessories just because you want to or need to for some additional functionality.
Although scooters have an under-seat storage compartment, it might be insufficient to carry the loads you need to carry during a ride. Accessories like a rack and a top box or even a crate on the rack will give you quite a bit more space.
I also purchased a backpack (like this from Revzilla) to make it easier to switch between transportation modes to fit my laptop and lunch to hop on a bus while also being able to tote my helmet around.
Then there are the things you want to add like reflective decals to be seen better or the best seat cover (so your seat isn’t so hot! and looks good).