Published on October 23rd, 2011 | by Jo Borrás
When Does 90 MPG Seem Low?
That right there is the 50 cc Honda Metropolitan that’s been carrying me across Chicago these past few months. With only 50 cc pushing the little scooter along, I can’t say it’s fast – but in rush hour traffic, with big-engine pickups and ultra-fast turbocharged Porsches dicing for position among stop-and-go city trucks? It’s plenty fast enough, then …
… and, when Chicago’s downtown traffic really grinds to a crawl, it’s the fastest thing on the road.
If you can’t tell, I’ve grown rather fond of the little Honda these past few months. I worry, though, that I’ve begun to take the Metro for granted.
Hear me out: the other day, I had the opportunity to ride one of Genuine Scooters’ 150 cc Internationals (more on the whys and hows of that another time). On my second day of riding it, about 80 miles in (78, to be exact) it needed gas.
“OK,” I thought to myself. Then I bought 0.9 gal of Shell’s finest E10 and motored along.
I rode the Italia along my usual route the following 2 days, which – with an almost exactly 55 mile round trip – meant I burned through that “gallon” of gas in less than 2 days of riding. I found myself, with the needle on E, pumping $3 of gas into a (fast! fun!) vehicle and cursing its 76 mpg fuel economy and how it had inconvenienced me. I shared this frustration with the coffee-shop girl what gives me freebies every now and then (possibly because I am adorable), and her response was totally negative. “I have a hybrid,” she said, “I think I get only 40 (mpg), and I still have to make payments on it.”
There I was, complaining about fuel economy that worked out to nearly 90 mpg to someone who had paid well over $20K on a vehicle (specifically because it promised high mpg) that, on its best day, got a little better than half the fuel economy of the MUCH more fun and exciting scooters. Complaining, let’s remember, because my 90 mpg ride didn’t quite get the mileage that my little 114 mpg Honda got.
SO, while we’re here talking about the latest and greatest coming technologies from Chrysler or Volkswagen or Mercedes-Benz that promise 40 or 50 or 60 mpg, let’s remember that you can, right now, go out and buy a small, efficient urban vehicle that can carry a “size M” rider at 42 mph and give said rider back a healthy 100 + mpg any day of the week.
Thank you, Honda!