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Are Motorcycles More Efficient Than Cars?

Common sense will tell me yes, but short of some egghead breaking out a chalkboard and scribbling equations to figure it out—I will go with the assumption that if I only have to put in 2 gallons of gas in my motorcycle and I can get 70-80 MPG from it, then it would be more efficient…right?

It depends entirely on the size of the engine. A smart car gets over 40 mpg while a GSXR1000 gets less than 50mpg. If you want to go the extra mile and figure weight and mass and everything else then go for it.

While motorcycles are about twice as fuel-efficient as cars and emit less CO2, because they are unable to carry heavy equipment like catalytic converters, they release large amounts of nitrogen oxides, which results in the release of ten times more air pollution per mile than an average car.

Still confused? Well next week, the ever popular TV show “Mythbusters” will dedicate a segment to the question, which is more environmentally friendly: a car or motorcycle?  They will test three cars and three motorcycles — one each from the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s for various pollutants to get the answer.

Hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage will enlist the help of Kent Johnson, a researcher from the University of California, Riverside. It will be interesting to see if they include the “fun factor” in the equation.

The episode titled “Savage Skillz,” will air on Sept. 28. Until then check out a sneak peek at the episode…




  1. stephanie (Reply) on Wednesday 28, 2011

    I think motorcycles are more efficient than cars but than again they both might be equally the same. but lets hope not hopefully myth busters will let us know.