Motorcycles Greener Than Cars. Maybe Not. Maybe Yes.

When on September 28th, 2011 the popular Discovery Channel Mythbusters show ran a segment called “Motorcycle Greener Than cars?“, results were not so favorable to motorcycles qualified as not better than cars, even worse. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) wrote the following answer.

“The Hosts ran a number of somewhat scientific tests on a few motorcycles to measure single vehicle emissions. The show determined that, “At best, it’s a wash; motorcycles are just as bad for the environment as cars. At worst, they are far worse.”  When tested side by side, a motorcycle will give off more of some gasses in the exhaust than a car of the same year. But that’s to be expected. As engines get smaller, it becomes more and more difficult to use a catalytic convertor to catch all the gasses. So it becomes an engineering and usability issue to catch all of the gasses a car can. However, when it comes to CO2 emissions, motorcycles emit a fraction of what cars are accountable for. It should be noted that CO2 emission levels are largely what drive climate change legislation.  

Another factor that the MythBusters failed to account for was the population size. Motorcycles make up less than three percent of the vehicles on the road today. Such a small percentage of all total vehicles cannot be singled out as the lone problem. That’s not to mention all of the other factors that make motorcycles more environmentally sound, such as smaller battery, longer life of vehicle, less raw materials to construct, less oil needed, and of course, less fuel to operate. Also keep in mind how motorcycles reduce congestion and do not contribute to gridlock. Add all those factors up and motorcycles are far better for the environment than any car.”

Zipper's

12 Responses to “Motorcycles Greener Than Cars. Maybe Not. Maybe Yes.”


  1. 1 Shifter Nov 1st, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Doesn’t matter the results. I ride and ride.

  2. 2 Patrick Nov 1st, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Everything in life is relative.

  3. 3 Pete Nov 1st, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Climate change used to be called Global warming but after the October snows it shows its age. Climate change is happening on every planet in the solar system due to cycles. But there is no profit in that. So what can we tax asks the global elite? Hot air(theres plenty of it) sez the insiders like Al Gore and Maurice Strong. CCX was born with the help of Obama and a bunch of these profiteers to cash in. Look up Obama and CCX. But if everyone rode motorcycles we would use less gas right?

  4. 4 zyon Nov 1st, 2011 at 10:31 am

    This is funny. Everyone has their own agenda!

  5. 5 Kroeter Nov 1st, 2011 at 10:52 am

    More mpg’s = more money in my pocket. That’s the only statistic that matters to me.

  6. 6 Nabubba Nov 1st, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Like any study each party on either end of the spectrum can use and twist the data into how they want it interpreted.

    Like Cyril said motorcycles are only a small portion of the big picture but too many folks are jealous of the freedom we as riders have when we are out riding so they want to take it from us.

  7. 7 hoyt Nov 1st, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    @Pete – “…but after the October snows it shows its age.”

    That makes zero sense. You are implying “Global Warming” required the typically colder months in the northern hemisphere to be warming as though it was following the normal calendar.

    The concern is that Climate Change is happening in various ways than the measured, historic pattern would expect.

    Other than that comment, the post has good points in favor of motorcycles that must be heard.

  8. 8 Dako Nov 1st, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I watched the Myth Buster’s show and they neglected to use a 2010 or newer bike that’s held to much stricter Tier II emission standards – they should have known better. Additionally, it should be pointed out that motorcyclists:
    – Relieve gridlock because we can ride two abreast and motorcycles are 1/2 as long as a passenger car
    – Provide more parking spaces because motorcycles can be parked up to 4-per car space
    – Pay for wear and tear of roadways that we do not cause. Note that motorcyclists in many states pay taxes according to the price of the vehicle, yet their low weight and two wheels do not contribute measurably to the road wear that taxes pay for. As motorcyclists we are paying for a significant percentage of the road wear that 4-wheeled vehicles cause. Thus we are reducing the taxes paid by 4-wheeled motorists.

    These are important points to keep in mind when addressing any community that is not 100% pro-motorcycle. It shows them what’s good about motorcycles and how even 4-wheeled motorists benefit from us being on the road.

  9. 9 Brett Nov 2nd, 2011 at 5:48 am

    who cares, when they said bikes were less green, it made me want to get a 3rd……it only makes the 2 I have hit the road more 🙂

  10. 10 Smittydog Nov 2nd, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Does not matter if greener or not, they are lot more fun.

  11. 11 Jim C Nov 3rd, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I’m with Kroeter, but you can’t discount smiles per gallon either! Sadly, my Buell only gets 37 mpg . . . 😉

  12. 12 Alan K Nov 7th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Read this book : Watermelons by James Dellingpole.

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