Dear Lazy Environmentalist,

Do motor scooters offer a green ride?

A great way to reduce your costs, keep your greenhouse gas emissions in check, and still enjoy the freedom of the road is on a rugged, stylish motor scooter. Two-wheeled motor scooters can accelerate quickly, navigate traffic easily, and squeeze into parking spaces that turn automobiles green with envy. They also save a bundle on gasoline — motor scooters typically average between 60 and 80 mpg. While Vespa scooters are most famous for their exceptional quality and iconic Italian design, other nimble, well-designed, and more affordable scooters can also rescue you from the expense of your daily commute.

Here are a few of The Lazy Environmentalist’s favorite two-wheeled rides:

Aprilia Scarabeo

Aprilia’s line of Scarabeo motor scooters traces its heritage back to the post-WWII era and to the town of Noale in the Italian province of Venice. Renowned for its success on motorcycle racing circuits around the globe, Aprilia brings the same attention to detail and unique styling to the Scarabeo line. The Scarabeo 200 is a superbly crafted urban commuter that tops out near 80 mph and a delivers a whopping 70 mpg. Its large 16-inch wheels provide stability and a sense of overall safety and at $3,399 it truly combines performance and affordability.

Honda Metropolitan

Enjoy the classic retro styling of Honda’s Metropolitan 49cc motor scooter, which puts the fun back in commuting and running errands. With a top speed of 35 mph, fuel economy of around 80 mpg, and a sticker price of $2,049, the eco-savvy Metropolitan will put a smile on your face and leave some cash in your pocket.

Kymco People

Kymco offers several motor scooter brands, but it’s the company’s People line that really turns heads with its modern styling, big wheels and funky color combinations. The People 150 is priced right at $2,799 and will deliver a top speed of 65 mph and about 70 mpg.

Piaggio Fly

The parent company of such illustrious Italian motorcycle and motor scooter brands like Moto Guzzi, Gilera, Derbi, Vespa and Aprilia, Piaggio also offers its own brand of affordable, stylish motor scooters. The Fly 50 ($1,899) and 150 ($2,899) are reliable and affordable machines that deliver solid performance.

Veken Hybrid

A newcomer to the motor scooter scene, Veken elevates fuel efficiency to new levels with the Veken Hybrid VK-M50, a combination gas and electric hybrid scooter capable of achieving 212 mpg. The lithium-ion battery charges automatically while you ride it, but you can also recharge it on your own by plugging the scooter into any outlet. The price tag is $2,799, and the scooter can go up to 35 mph.

 

Vespa LX

Famous for their exceptional quality and iconic Italian design, Vespa motor scooters are available through a broad dealership network throughout the United States. Vespas retain their market exceptionally well over time because they’re made with the finest parts, including a solid stainless steel frame. At $3,299, the Vespa LX is the most affordable model and delivers around 70 mpg.

Yamaha Vino

For a high-quality ride with retro flair and an affordable price point, check out the Yamaha Vino. The Vino 125 sells for $2,899 and averages 96 miles per gallon. The four-stroke engine delivers plenty of pep and a top speed of around 55 miles per hour. Or quench your thirst for the open road and the feel of wind (or maybe a light breeze) pressing against your face with the Vino Classic, an entry-level 49cc scooter that sells for $2,049 and delivers 112 miles per gallon. Its maximum speed of 35 miles per hour will, in many cases, get you comfortably to work, class or the grocery store.

Zero X

Go from zero to 30 mph in just two seconds on the Zero X off-road electric motorcycle. The battery pack delivers about 40 miles per charge and a top speed of just below 60 miles per hour. The standard model costs $7,450, and long-term savings are guaranteed since plugging into the power grid only takes two hours and costs about a penny per mile. Look for the Zero S, a street-legal electric motorcycle that’s in development.

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Excerpted from Josh Dorfman's latest book, The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget.

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Photo: Courtesy of Honda