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Motorcyclist

As hard as it is to believe, motorcycles like this one generate more pollution per mile than the largest SUVs on the road.

Motorcycles: Green or Obscene?

Contributing correspondent thinks twice about buying a motorcycle.

By Patrick Justus

Consider that the cleanest motorcycles in the 2001 model year certified at a level of about 0.32 grams/mile of hydrocarbons on the Federal Test Procedure. On the exact same test procedure the Prius certified at a hydrocarbon level of 0.0024 grams/mile. The cleanest (highway) motorcycle is therefore more than 100 times dirtier than the Prius. Said another way, you could drive the Prius for more than 100 miles before you got to the same hydrocarbon levels the motorcycle would emit in only 1 mile of driving.

There is a Prius parked in my driveway as I write. I've been driving it for two weeks now. Every time I see a person on a scooter or motorcycle now, I wonder if he thinks he is doing the environment a favor. I am tempted to shout the truth out the window to him, "Park that beast and buy a Ford Explorer for Gaia's sake!"

What still amazes me is how hard it was to find out the dirty truth about the motorized two-wheeled world. While I hate to spoil anyone's fun, I think folks should know that motorcycles are not green machines, but are rather, for our environment, obscene machines.

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