Floyd Harrison has opted to cruise on two wheels instead of four.
With fuel prices approaching $4 per gallon, the 67-year-old Evans retiree purchased a Honda scooter last week from Street and Trail Motorsports in Evans to save money.
Harrison also owns a Honda Odyssey minivan, which he said gets about 15 miles per gallon in city traffic. His new scooter gets around 60 mpg.
"I'll spend about $20 per week on gas for the scooter," Harrison said. "I was spending about $400 a month for gas for the Odyssey. You don't have to be a math wizard to know that's a big difference."
Not since the increase in fuel prices in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina have scooter and motorcycle sales boomed like they have in recent months, Street and Trail Motorsports Sales Manager Alan Moffett said.
"We still get a lot of people who want a scooter or motorcycle for the fun or the freedom it gives them," Moffett said. "But, more and more, we're getting people just trying to save at the pump. It's probably about 50-50 at this point."
Fun and nostalgia also were factors in Harrison's decision to buy a scooter.
He enjoyed leisurely scooter rides through downtown Augusta in the 1950s and 1960s.
"When I rode them years ago, I enjoyed scooters more than I did motorcycles," he said. "But, back then, scooters only got up to 35 miles per hour. Today, that will get you run over."
Harrison's scooter, with a 600 cc engine, tops out at about 60 mph. Moffett suggested consumers should seek scooters with at least that much power.
"The lower the size of the engine, the more gas you'll save," he said. "But, with the way traffic is today, you don't want something that will impede traffic. Sometimes, going too slow can be just as dangerous as going too fast."
In fact, Moffett said scooter owners should limit their driving to city travel and avoid highways and interstates.
A motorcycle is better for more open roads, he said.
"For the price someone will pay for a high-end scooter, they can get a smaller motorcycle that will give them a much better performance on the road," he said. "Even with motorcycles with a larger engine ... you'll still be getting 40 to 45 mpg."
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