Vespa ScooterWith gas prices continuing to soar, more consumers are taking matters into their own hands by gripping handlebars instead of steering wheels, according to a new report that shows motorcycle and scooter sales are booming.

The Motorcycle Industry Council's Retail Sales Report for the first quarter of 2011 shows scooter sales are up almost 50% over the same time last year. Motorcycle sales revved up, too, rising 7.2% during that same time period. The report tracks sales among the top 18 brands sold in the United States.

"Nothing compares to a motorcycle for combining fun with saving money," Motorcycle Industry Council President and CEO Tim Buche said in a statement. "There's no more enjoyable way to get to work and get around, and rising fuel prices have given our customers yet another great reason to ride."Consumers are also breaking out their old bikes and leaving their cars at home as seen by a 29.4% increase in motorcycle and scooter tire sales. Scooter tire sales alone jumped a whopping 48.6%, the report showed.

"Tire sales add to new-bike sales figures as a measure of motorcycle interest since there are still a lot of great, used bikes putting on the miles and older bikes that owners are reviving and enjoying once again," Buche said. The council estimated that 11 million motorcycles were in use in 2009, a 5% increase over the 10.4 million in use in 2008.

It's no wonder scooters are enjoying a surge in popularity, with scooter makers like Vespa touting gas usage of anywhere from 65 to 90 miles to the gallon depending on the model. Couple that with rising gas prices, and it's pretty clear why there's been a jump in sales.

As of Friday, the average price of regular gasoline in the United States was $3.909 a gallon, according to the American Automotive Association's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. And while there's still some ways to go before we hit AAA's highest recorded average price of $4.114 a gallon (logged on July 17, 2008), it's no wonder that people are looking for ways to save.

According to the report, the South and the Midwest regions of the U.S. had the most affordable gas prices, ranging from $3.743 to $3.818 a gallon. The West Coast and the Northeast regions generally had the highest gas prices -- with Alaska, California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and New York clocking in with the highest rates of between $3.993 and $4.565 a gallon.

Looking for more ways to save on gas? Check out these creative ways to get more bang for your gas buck.

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August 23 2011 at 6:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply