To Moped Or Not To Moped...

| 9/19/2008 3:46:29 PM

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years (which, admittedly, becomes more enticing everyday), you’ve probably seen a moped cruising around your city streets. As a college student, I encounter/dodge at least five every day on campus. The scariest part is that you can hear them coming before you see them, and I unfailingly always look for them in the wrong direction.

This European vehicle started to hit U.S. streets fairly recently, and on the surface, mopeds seem to be a promising move toward less gasoline consumption and CO2 emissions — I’ve certainly coveted them on days they don’t run me over. But I’ve always wondered whether or not mopeds really are better for the environment, so I did some research.

Turns out, there are plenty of moped Web sites that herald mopeds as a new alternative form of transportation that reduces the rider’s carbon footprint and dependence on oil. While I think the idea of mopeds requiring less gasoline is pretty indisputable, the carbon footprint aspect is a tad more ambiguous.

From what I’ve found, there have only been two studies on the environmental impact of mopeds as compared to the emissions of conventional cars – and the results weren’t so promising.

In a study at the University of Denmark, mopeds were found to contribute more to Denmark’s pollution than typical cars. The results show that two-wheelers emit high amounts of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. The study also indicated that using fuel with ethanol makes insignificant change in the amount of emissions.

However, like I said, this was essentially the only information I’ve found on the subject, so I’m not really sure what to think.

8/8/2009 5:00:06 PM

Like said above CO2 emissions is directly related to gasoline consumption. Where mopeds "look" dirty is when adjusted for power. Emissions are rated and regulated by the government corrected for engine output. Really that is the only fair way to rate it for larger engines. So like it's something like NOx/hp. So when comparing emissions it's easy to see which design produces more power with less of a certain emission. Well, when you start getting to small displacement engines, less time has been spent understanding the smaller pistons, and less time is spent also because of packagine issues. You can't really puta 15 lb air pump on a moped like you can 3500 lb car. So it's tough to clean up the emissions as far as NOx and hydrocarbons are concerned. But as far as CO2 is concern, it is directly related to fuel consumption. If you get 2X the mileage, you are emmitting 1/2 as much CO2/CO/HC. My answer is TO MOPED or at least motorcycle... I get 45 mpg out of my motorcycle. compared to my truck that gets 17. That's almost 1/3 the CO2. I've had bikes that get better gas mileage than that, but they were too slow for me.

6/17/2009 11:32:46 PM

This statement is contradictory: "mopeds requiring less gasoline is pretty indisputable, the carbon footprint aspect is a tad more ambiguous" CO2 emissions are directly porportional to gas mileage. Then the article later talks about tradional emissions, not CO2, Please note Europe doesn't have the emissions regs we have and the article doesn't specify 2 or 4 cycle. It is common knowledge that 2 cycle is dirty, but gets higher mileage.

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