Save money, help the environment

July 16, 2008 4:02:57 PM PDT
The Montrose area has been named one of "America's 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Neighborhoods" by Forbes magazine.Forbes says Montrose residents are in a prime location to get where they need to go without hurting the environment. The magazine reports that the average person drives 12,000 miles per car per year in the U.S. They say folks in the Montrose area drive about 1,000 miles less per year.

Today also happens to be "National Ride Your Scooter to Work Day." And in a day and age of high gas prices, you may have noticed that scooters are everywhere.

But just how much are scooter commuters really saving? Eyewitness News reporter Katishia Cosley went for a ride to find out.

It's still dark when Rebecca Beckwith and her daughter Linda head out to work, but you won't find any cars inside their garage.

These ladies only ride on two or three wheels. In all, they have six scooters!

"I bought it for finances -- to save on gas a little," Rebecca said.

Once they gear up, they're ready to hit the streets.

Linda's Honda 585 gets about 50 miles per gallon. Due to a recent injury, Rebecca is on her scooter with a side car since there's room for her wheelchair.

She gets about 75 miles per gallon, spending only $6 a week at the pump! On her bigger bikes she can fly down the street at 80 MPH, but with the side car, she can only go 40 MPH.

Rebecca commutes 15 miles each way. For safety, she's mapped out her commute only taking streets where the maximum speed limit is 35 MPH.

If you think $6 is a bargain, we found something even better: an electric bike that just plugs into a regular wall socket!

"The charge will depend how aggressively you drive and what the conditions are, but you're looking at between 35 miles and 45 miles," Jock Drummond, President of Gulf Coast Veloteq, said.

At one scooter dealership, they're selling about 20 bikes a month.

With an electric bike, though, you can only go 20 MPH. But, the good news is that because of the bikes' slower speeds, owners don't need a special vehicle license or registration to ride it. The best part all is that there's no pollution emitted ? that is, if you charge it using clean energy.

"It's very quiet and has good acceleration," test-driver Jeffrey Dunn said. "It felt very stable."

After test-driving the "E-Bike," Dunn liked what he saw.

"I will definitely be keeping an automobile for longer trips, though" he said. "I think inside the Loop, which is where most Houstonians want to be, this form of transportation just makes more sense."

Whatever you choose - you're sure to save money and have fun!

Motor scooters will cost you between $2,500 and $6,000. The electric bike ranges from $1,500 to $2,000. Right now, new technology is being developed to increase the battery capacity on the "E-Bike" so you can ride longer and go faster.

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