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.”