Friday, August 8, 2008

Scooter Polluter

She loves her smog machine! Huh? Yes, an article in "The Idaho Statesman," spells it out in black and white:

"It's true. The cleanest scooter is still dirtier than a car," said John Swanton, air pollution specialist with the California Air Resources Board."

While scooters and motorcycles use less gasoline, they create more smog due to their lack of emissions controls. The article further states:

"Some motorcycles emit as much hydrocarbon in 10 miles as a car driven 850 miles, according to Environmental Protection Agency studies."

It all goes back to choices. If your concern is saving money on gas, a scooter or motorcycle is the way to go. If you are eco-conscious, the answer may be any of a number of choices, like the Hummer they mentioned, or even better, the hydraulic hybrid Hummer, when it becomes available! DriveTime - The used car dealership for those with bad credit. Apply online.

If you are going to buy a scooter or motorcycle, make sure you have the proper training, helmet and leather gear. I recommend Timot Leather, as I have seen how their products perform in actual accidents, which was spectacular! Additionally, make sure the scooter or motorcycle suits your needs and is certified by either the EPA or state environmental boards (like California). Taste the Purest Tea on the Planet – Organic and Fair Trade Certified Shop Numi Organic Tea

From the article: "... a rise in substandard Asian imports, Swanton said. These cheap and dirty scooters and motorcycles do not comply with EPA standards. In 2005, the EPA issued an enforcement alert warning importers and the public about non-EPA compliant motorcycles and scooters entering the U.S. market."

Finally, ride responsibly!

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Stevie said...

“Scooters pollute more than cars” - I have seen this mentioned in enough places both on the internet and newspapers. Often the articles are written by those with self-serving interests. This article lays out some facts and food for thought for scooter riders and potential scooter buyers.
No question – some older scooters, especially those that have been poorly maintained, are blue smoke belching beasts – no argument there. The same applies for many old cars.
Newer cars are great compared to older cars, especially with regard to tailpipe emissions and, in particular, greenhouse gasses.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are directly proportional to the amount of gas you burn, meaning two-wheelers contribute fewer greenhouse gas emissions per kilometre than their four-wheeled cousins.
But that's only one part of the air quality equation. When it comes to emissions of nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons – so-called smog-forming pollutants – motorcycles and scooters emit many times more per kilometre than cars and trucks.
In short, scooters produce fewer greenhouse gasses (GHG’s) than automobiles and GHG’s are the primary enemy of climate change. But scooters produce a lot more smog forming emissions than an automobile. These are the emissions that put a haze in the air and provide poor air quality for breathing.
2 stroke scooters are much worse than 4 stroke scooters when it comes to smog forming pollutants and, when it comes to smog, are worse than most cars.
But how does a new scooter compare to a new car? Naturally, it depends on the type of scooter and the type of car. For the purpose of comparison, let’s compare a scooter to a compact car with a 4 cylinder engine. For the scooter, we will look at a 50cc model and we will also compare a 2 stroke model to a 4 stroke model since there are considerable differences.
Let’s approach this from the perspective of someone who wants to do the right thing for the environment. Which mode of transportation for your daily commutes minimizes your adverse environmental impact?
It should be clear there is a lot more to the environmental cost of a mode of transport than just looking at the tailpipe emissions.
To take a more logical and scientific approach, let’s consider the environmental costs of:
1. Environmental cost of producing the car or scooter
2. Environmental cost of operating the car or scooter during its useful life
3. Environmental cost of disposing of or recycling the car or scooter at the end of its useful life

1. Environmental cost of Producing the Car or Scooter
Cars are made of large amounts of metal, plastic, paint, fabric, leather rubber & glass. They have a large lead acid battery and contain other toxic fluids such as coolants and lubricants. Many of the surfaces are chemically treated for corrosion protection.
Scooters use many of the same materials but in much smaller quantities. (For example 2 small tires rather than 5). The battery in a scooter is a fraction the size of a cars and the amount of glass including headlights is miniscule by comparison.
The energy consumed in the actual assembly of a scooter is much smaller than a car. Most reputable scooter brands are made in factories that meet ISO or similar standards as are most cars.
In short, a scooter clearly has a much smaller carbon footprint at this stage.
To be fair, a good car will last as long as 2 or 3 scooters in terms of total engine life. Even with that factored in, the scooter has a smaller carbon footprint associated with production.
Granted, the scooter can carry only 1 or two people whereas a compact car can usually carry 2 – 4 people – but how often do urban commuters carry multiple passengers?

2. Environmental cost of Operating the car or scooter during its useful life
In this area we have some interesting questions. No question, the scooter is using less gas to go the same distance but the car may come out the winner if you are usually carrying 3 or 4 people. The other issue is how cleanly and efficiently the fuel is being burned and how harmful are the tailpipe emissions.
If we look at a compact car....
If we look at a 2 stroke scooter...
If we look at a 4 stroke scooter....

In short, if you are drinving a newer 2 stroke scooter with a catalytic converter or even fuel injection, your carbon footprint from tailpipe emissions will be better than a compact car.
Now, here’s the interesting this about fuel when you look at the big picture. No question that the car will require much greater quantities to go the same distance. More gas consumed must be related to a bunch of factors:
Exploration and drilling costs
Shipping cost of the product to be refined into gas
Refining environmental costs
Environmental costs of moving the fuel to the filling stations
Obviously, something that uses more gas is going to produce a much larger carbon footprint when you look at all of these factors.
Short story, most scooters probably burn dirtier during their life than the average car and when looking at tailpipe emissions. Even so, they probably come out ahead when you take a holistic approach and look at all the factors.
Gas is the big one here, but let’s not forget all the lubricants, coolants, and batteries that a car uses during its life compared to a scooter – much more environmental cost here for the car (unless the car usually travels with 3 or 4 occupants compared to the scooter’s maximum of 2.
What about the environmental cost associated with creating parking spaces for all those cars vs scooters. No question, if a lot more people commuted on scooters we could turn a lot of parking lots into parks!
3. Environmental cost of Disposing of or recycling the car or scooter at the end of its useful life
When we looked at the environmental cost of production, we saw what types of materials go into the respective vehicles. Both cars and scooters are getting much better at using recycled materials in production and they are also being made of materials that can be recycled at the end of their useful life.
Scooters just use a whole lot less materials. The average 50 cc scooter weighs around 100kg whereas the average compact car weighs close to _________. That just means a whole lot less material that ultimately has to be reprocessed or sent to a land fill.
Most cars will last as long as 2 or 3 scooters so, to be fair, we have to look at the disposal cost of 1 car compared to say 3 scooters. Again, the nod goes to the scooter but probably by not as much as you would think.
I have probably left out a lot of factors here on both sides of the argument but not nearly as many as most articles do when the look just at one aspect of tailpipe emissions and draw conclusions about overall environmental impact. This misinformation of sticks in the minds of consumers and policy makers and the record needs to be made more complete.
This article hopes to provide some food for thought and some facts to set the record straight next time you hear someone say “Scooters pollute more than cars”

Anonymous said...

Electronic fuel-injected four-stroke scooters should be fine.

Two strokes are something like 1000 times worse than cars in some pollutants.

I've been trying to figure this out, but I wonder if additives like ethanol have different impacts on cars and scooters. In places like Taiwan, where scooters are very common, it might even make sense for a special ethanol-enhanced blend to be made for scooters specifically to reduce their tailpipe emissions.

FAPORT International said...

Beautiful scooter, your post is really nice...

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