Little scooters pollute more than SUVs? SUVs cleaner than scooters?

The Willamette Week, a paper from Portland, took a look at the environmental effects of scooters, those little hipster two-wheelers. Actually, they found an EPA study from last March that "shows most scooters on the road pollute more than SUVs" and felt the need to test that finding out for themselves. After struggling to find scooter owners willing to allow their loved machines to be tested, the machines were given the once over.

The tests looked at how many hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide were emitted. The worst scooter tested (from 1968) spewed out 4,900 parts per million of hydrocarbons and 8.6 percent CO2 emissions. A more modern scooter (2006 model) had 168 ppm of hydrocarbons and 3.1 percent CO2. The SUV? 10 ppm and 1 percent CO2.

The problem, of course, is that the tests didn't factor in any sort of mileage that the tested vehicles can travel while they emit these pollutants nor do they measure the emissions using the grams per mile standard. Readers pointed these errors out in the comments, but the article has gotten a lot of play in online scooter communities.

[Source: Willamette Week, Hat Tip to Chris Nelson]

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