Want to Improve National Security? Ride a Scooter.


It is telling of my age, perhaps, that I had originally thought to begin this article with a reference to “Voodoo Economics.”  Even so, there is very little voodoo in the idea that reducing America’s foreign oil dependence/addiction is a good thing.  It’s such a good idea, in fact, and so integral to “national security interests” that the US military is putting its best brains on the problem.

So, here we have an idea – reduced oil dependency – that is “good enough” to be embraced by Ed Begley Jr. on one end and blood-thirsty war-hawks on the other, and somewhere between those two extremes (I think) lie the rest of us, who have to deal with the environmental and economic realities of oil dependence every day.

No need to preach to the choir, however, so I’ll pitch this the right a bit, however and talk about a way that “red-blooded ‘Muricans” can significantly improve America’s national security equation without giving up their H2 Hummer or F-650 medium-duty Ford.

Ready for it?  Ride a scooter.  Maybe a moped.

Not all the time, of course, since life on two-wheels only (which I’ve tried) isn’t for everyone (note:  “tried” is past-tense), but part time?  For quick trips to the post office?  To pick up a few last-minute groceries?  To meet some friends at the coffee shop?  To commute to work on a beautiful spring morning?  Oh yeah, baby.  Scoot me up.

According to Hell for Leather magazine, it’s been estimated that if 10 % of American car drivers shifted just 33 % of their miles to scooters by 2020, national gasoline consumption would be reduced by some 3.9 billion gallons / 198 million barrels of oil / 21.4 billion USD (at just $3.67 a gallon) each and every year … which seems like a lot to me!

The (admittedly self-serving) information comes from Vespa and mint.com.  So, while they do cite a number of sources, you should take the information with a grain of salt … but no so much that you start denying the basic principles of “use less gas/need less gas” playing out here.

Full (big) infographic, below.

Source: Vespa, via Hell for Leather.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.