fueled by moped mobility

Fun, fashionable and fuel-efficient scooters are turning regular commutes into awesome urban adventures.

Fun, fashionable and fuel-efficient scooters are turning regular commutes into awesome urban adventures.

Travel around Asia — or any island vacation destination — and you’ll quickly notice the number of people who rely on small-engine mopeds as a legitimate form of daily transportation. Folks, they’re on to something. In countries like Thailand, for instance, it’s not uncommon to see a family of five packed onto a 40-year-old gas-powered scooter. We don’t advise trying that; however, FueledBy is here to shine a light on the impressive number of Americans who are getting in on this fun, fashionable and fuel-efficient motor trend.

Visual vintage aesthetics and sheer nostalgia are fueling a large part of the resurgence. Out there on the vintage marketplace, mopeds with engines between 50cc and 150cc start around $500 and go up to about $2,000 for fully restored models, which make mopeds a cheaper option than almost any motorcycle and even some bicycles. They’re small enough to be parked in a hallway and, though not exactly ideal, can even be hauled up a flight of stairs.

But it’s not just about being practical. It’s about finding adventure in your 15-minute commute.

As the vintage market has boomed in recent years, manufacturers have started producing all kinds of new mopeds. Some of them look a lot like their old-school inspirations, while others have a more bare-bones, post-apocalyptic design, complete with a bevy of storage options and aftermarket off-road tires.

They’re fun, but not too fun. Top speeds typically max out at a relatively chill 25 to 55 miles per hour. For the budget-conscious commuter, fuel economy can be as high as 100 miles per gallon. But that all depends on the size of the engine, the incline of the commute, and the weight of the passenger and whatever they might be carrying.

This two-wheel trend isn’t only about individual trips. It’s also about the collective culture that has risen around mopeds and scooters. In North America, there are reported to be more than 230 moped clubs.

Selecting the scooter that’s right for you is a lot like choosing any other kind of vehicle. You need to think about how you’re going to use it and what kind of roads you’ll be driving on. If you’re looking for something fun to commute to work, the gym or the grocery store — somewhere that’s a relatively short ride through a little traffic with low speeds — a moped could most definitely do the trick.

Just remember to wear a helmet, and try not to smile too much — you don’t want to eat too many bugs.