We all know people who, in the last year or two, have sold cars or just left them in the garage and instead bought or hopped onto scooters and motorcycles. This behavior could be diagnosed as a mid-life crisis or could be financially justified yet more often than not a smile will spread across the face of the rider as they announce that they are doing it for Mother Earth.
Last week, on National TV, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman tested this theory on their hit TV show ‘Mythbusters’. The show gathered 3 cars and 3 bikes, each representing popular models from the 80′s, 90′s and 00′s. The vehicles were strapped with tailpipe probes and fitted with monitors on the engine control units. The information was then gathered and interpreted by Prof. Kent Johnson, an assistant research engineer at the University of California at Riverside, who also analyzed the vehicles’ emissions of hydrocarbons and nitric oxide.
The results were very interesting. Motorcycles were more fuel-efficient than their four wheeled friends and emitted less carbon dioxide, but they emitted more smog-forming hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen, as well as the toxic air pollutant carbon monoxide. The motorcycle from the 00′s emitted 30% fewer carbon dioxide emissions that its car counterpart, but it emitted 416% more hydrocarbons, 3,220% more oxides of nitrogen and 8,065% more carbon monoxide. A conclusive argument for going electric?!
The shows conclusion was that: ”At best, it’s a wash. Motorcycles are just as bad for the environment as cars,” Savage said on the show. “At worst, they’re far worse.”