March 8, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Buy a Moped to Save Gas

Gas prices are going up and spring is around the corner.   Its that time of year again.   The time of year I'm thinking of is when people get the bright idea to buy a moped to save on gasoline.

Gas Savings Aren't that Much

With gas at $3.50 or more per gallon it may seem like you'd save a TON of money by getting a moped.   I'm sure it costs a LOT to fill up your cars tank today.   A moped certainly does get better MPG and would save you money on gasoline.   But when you add it all up you may not save anywhere near as much as you think. 

Lets look at an example situation:  Lets say you live 10 miles from work.    Your car gets 25MPG.   A moped gets 50MPG. 100MPG  Lets assume that you could drive your moped to work approximately 60% of the time.   The other 40% of the time its too cold, raining, snowing or maybe you have to do something else after work that would require a car.    If you work 50 weeks out of the year then altogether you'd be driving to work 250 days a year.  That would be 5,000 miles driven round trip too and from work per year.   Driving 60% of that on a moped would be 3,000 miles total.   Thats 60 30 gallons of gasoline in a moped versus 120 gallons in your car.  So you'd be saving a total of 60 gallons of gasoline.    At $3.50 per gallon what would be a total savings of $210 $315 in gas.  (note: I'd used 50 MPG originally but changed it to 100MPG as that seems more accurate).

Mopeds aren't free

A moped isn't an expensive vehicle but it isn't free.   You'll have to buy the moped.   In addition to purchasing the moped you'll also have to pay money to insure it.   The moped will need repairs and maintenance.   The total costs of buying the moped, insuring it and maintaining it could easily add up to more than the savings in gasoline.

No matter how you cut it, two wheeled vehicles are less safe than cars and trucks.   The fatality rate is substantially higher in motorcycles.   You're about 20 times as likely to die in a crash when driving a motorcycle per mile driven compared to a car.   You may think that puttering around town at 20 MPH isn't dangerous but what happens when your tire blows or if a bad driver in a car changes lanes without seeing you? 

Mopeds are Slow

You do know most mopeds are limited at speeds of around 35MPH right?  

Consider a bicycle instead

You can probably buy a bicycle for around $100 or $200.    It has no insurance costs.  No gasoline costs.   It has minimal repair costs. 


  1. Amy Napier-BoleyJune 10, 2011 at 7:09 AM

    I just bought a moped two months ago and I love it. Yes, it only goes 40 mph, but the speed limits in my city only go up to 45 so I'm not out anything there. Yes, you're more vulnerable on a moped, but you could make that same argument for biking or walking. As long as you're smart, follow traffic laws, and avoid high-volume roads at rush hour, you're fine. Also, in Michigan at least, you don't have to insure a moped that is 50cc, and the registration is only $15 for three years. I get 90 miles to the gallon and save a lot of money using it to go to work, do errands, and just tool around town. It'll pay for itself or more by the end of summer.

  2. I'm glad it works for you Amy. I assume you got a good price on a used moped if its paying for itself that fast. I'm still not a fan mainly because of the safety reason. I've actually had two relatives end up in the hospital from moped related accidents. The blown tire example happened to my cousin.

  3. Some mopeds get 80 to 100 MPG. Where do you get 50 MPG at?

  4. Honestly I don't know where I got the 50 MPG figure from. I may have found a moped that got 50 MPG. Its just an example of course, I'm sure theres a range of fuel efficiency for mopeds just as there is for cars. I used a 25 MPG figure for the car and some cars get 50 MPG.

    I'm not sure what typical MPG ratings are for mopeds, but I do pretty easily find some Honda models that get >100 MPG. Vespa models seem to be 60-90 MPG.

    So it does seem that 75-100 MPG is more accurate. I'll update the example to show 100 MPG also.


  5. Time is one important factor that I chose a Moped after 18 years of driving a car. Time is gained by cutting through traffic , parking very easily, and also avoiding parking costs.


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