Does Commuting on a Motorcycle Save Money?

As gas prices creep up around the $4 or even $5 mark, the impressive MPG numbers of your motorcycle begin to look better and better. Commuting on a motorcycle sounds like smart way to save money, but before we make a decision let’s take a look at the numbers.

Gas Pump in Indiana

Total Motorcycle has a great tool to find the fuel economy of motorcycles and scooters from modern bikes to those dating all the way back to the ‘30s.

Motorcycle Fuel Economy Guide

Modern cruisers have a wide range in fuel economy, but your typical Harley-Davidson cruiser will get around 42 mpg and a sport bike can get fuel economy as good as 50 or 60 mpg depending on engine size.

Now compare that to your average modern sedan which will get a combined fuel economy of around 29 mpg or your average small truck with a combined fuel economy around 19 mpg, and the motorcycle begins to look like a bargin. 

For more exact calculations of your particular car, fuel economy numbers on almost any modern vehicle are available at fueleconomy.gov.  

At this point it might seem like commuting on a motorcycle is a no-brainer for saving money, but there are several more things to consider before you hop on a motorcycle and head to the office.

The majority of Americans commute 20 miles or fewer each day to work and work around 21 days in a month. (Commuting statistics are available at the United States Department of Transportation website. Assuming gas costs $4, that adds up to about $58 a month or $695 a year when driving the sedan. If you were driving the sport bike getting 50 mpg, your commuting gas bill would be only $34 a month or $403 a year, a savings of $292.

This is a decent savings if you were planning on having a motorcycle anyway, but if you add in the cost of the bike ($5000+/-), the insurance ($250), a jacket ($200), yearly maintenance ($100) and helmet ($100) then buying a motorcycle just to save gas money doesn’t add up for most people unless you plan on replacing your car with one.

But what about the super commuters, the 8 percent of the country who commute 70 or more miles a day. The yearly cost of gas for the sedan is $2433 and for the 50 mpg bike it is only $1411. That is savings of $1022. If you can keep your bike running for enough years, you will eventually come out ahead once it is paid off.

Saving Resources

Now, money isn’t everything, and if your goal is to burn less gasoline to help cut back on our country’s consumption of oil, then a motorcycle is 100 percent going to do that versus a standard car or truck. The point is to take a moment to do the math for your particular situation. For many people commuting on a motorcycle is about enjoying the ride, having fun on the way to work. The fact that it gets great fuel economy is just an added bonus.