Do Motorcycles Save Money on Gas? Most bikes save money on gas and are one of the most fuel-efficient transportation forms. They can help you save money due to their aerodynamics and energy-efficient engines. While it depends on a variety of factors, bikes are generally more economical over long distances and have lower fuel costs.
Motorcycles can be much more affordable than cars and fit well into most lifestyles. They’re a popular mode of transport, and the freedom of riding one is a sensation like no other. If you’re a student, a young professional, or just looking to save some money on gas, you may have considered getting a motorcycle for your daily commute.
While there are many reasons motorcycles serve as an excellent choice for commuters, getting important recognition has proven difficult. In this post, we’ll examine a few essential uses people have found for their motorcycles, specifically commuting, and saving money on gas.
Do Motorcycles Save Money on Gas? The Cost of Filling Up a Motorcycle with Gas
Everyone knows that motorcycles get excellent gas mileage – they’re fun to ride, but they’re also nimbler and more fuel-efficient than cars. But do they save money on gas?
To find out, you’ll first need to understand that the numbers I will be using are based on average prices in the United States for regular unleaded gasoline. Your situation may vary depending on where in the US you live.
Motorcycle tanks vary in their capacity from two to eight gallons. Therefore, the costs to fill up a motorcycle will depend on the fuel capacity of the bike.
How much fuel a motorcycle can hold depends on its power output (otherwise known as Cubic Capacity – CC):
- 50cc – 1.5 to 3 gallons (5.68-11.36 liters)
- 125cc – 2 to 4 gallons (7.57-15.14 liters)
- 250cc – 2 to 4 gallons (7.57-15.14 liters)
- 300 to 500cc – 3 to 5 gallons (11.36-18.93 liters)
Currently, according to the AAA, the average gasoline cost in the United States is $3.7 per gallon. This means that for a 300 – 500cc motorbike, the cost of filling the tank would be roughly $11.1 to $18.5. It’s important to highlight that the cost of filling up a motorcycle tank is primarily dependent on its tank size.
Fuel Efficiency: Car vs. Motorcycle
There’s a lot of concern about the price of gas these days, particularly for people who drive a lot. Many people are considering switching to motorcycles for commuting and other driving activities. Motorcycles are compact and require less energy to run than cars do, so they should save you money on gas, right?
Let’s compare the fuel efficiency of cars and motorcycles below:
Miles per Gallon
A car will get 25 miles (40 km) per gallon while, on average, motorcycles get about 50 miles (80 km) to the gallon. Therefore, depending on its make and tank size, a bike will travel a distance of 150 – 250 miles (241-402 kilometers) on a full tank before needing to be refueled.
The average car will have a tank of 12 gallons (45 liters). Therefore, this figure suggests that a vehicle can travel 300 miles (482 kilometers) on a $44.5 full petrol tank. When comparing this figure to a motorcycle, for less than half the price, you’ll get 250 miles (402 kilometers) – not a bad deal, considering.
Therefore, it’s apparent that motorcycles take fuel economy to another level.
A motorcycle’s engine is better in proportion to its body than a car, which means it uses its fuel more efficiently.
Cars have many moving parts that use energy and thus consume more gas than motorbikes and are also more expensive to fill up. In addition, they have heavier frames and bodies than motorcycles, which means they need more energy to run.
The reason motorcycles have better mileage is simple: they’re smaller and therefore don’t consume as much energy. This will attest to the fact that they will get you twice as far off a single gallon compared to a car.
Ability To Avoid Heavy Traffic
During traffic and constant stop-starts, cars are renowned for burning large amounts of fuel. On the other hand, a motorcycle is more versatile, and its compactness enables drivers to avoid heavy traffic.
A motorbike’s nimble nature allows it to make quicker turns than cars. This may not seem significant, but on highways where drivers often prefer a shorter route rather than a more efficient one (especially when driving for pleasure), this can lead to dramatic savings in mileage costs.
A motorcycle’s size means that it also has less aerodynamic drag than a car of a similar speed. This makes a bike quicker and more economical on fuel than its car counterpart over long distances.
While both modes of transport have advantages and disadvantages, much of what goes into fuel consumption depends on how often you commute or travel.
Generally, a motorcycle wins tenfold in fuel economy and saving money.
Tips To Save Gas on a Motorcycle
Saving gas costs on a motorcycle (and riding a bike for that matter) is all about the little things. Most of the time, it is about the things you can do even when you are not riding.
To save money on a motorcycle, you should perform regular maintenance and ride it efficiently. Even if you take both of these to heart, chances are you’ll still find yourself short of funds when the gas prices go up.
Below you’ll find some tips and tricks to help you save on gas costs if you’re lucky enough to own a motorcycle:
Maintain Proper Tire Inflation
Keeping your tires properly inflated is essential. This can be especially important if you ride a motorcycle to save on petrol costs.
When your tires are underinflated, it creates drag, and this means that your bike will require more energy to get the tires to move efficiently. It’s a similar case with overinflated tires. Not only does it create an uncomfortable ride, but it will result in poor fuel economy, too.
When your tires are correctly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI pressure, your motorcycle will require less power to move, thus using gas effectively.
Perform Regular Maintenance
No matter what you need a motorcycle for, getting more out of each trip is always nice. Setting up your bike correctly and performing regular maintenance will help you get the most out of each gas tank.
It’s essential to regularly check your oil levels and clean the air filter. When your engine lacks lubrication or has a dirty air filter, it becomes inefficient and demands more gas, leading to greater fuel consumption.
Poor maintenance levels on your bike result in more strain on the engine and greater fuel consumption. It’s vital to perform regular maintenance checks on your motorbike to save gas and increase your overall safety and riding experience.
Drive at a Consistent Speed
Motorcycles are a tremendous fuel-efficient means of transportation, but they require the driver to be proactive. A motorcycle’s small engine can do an excellent job when you drive at a consistent speed, saving gas and extending its life.
The most obvious way to save gas on a motorcycle is to drive at a consistent speed. Consistency means you have the same amount of time to accelerate and decelerate when changing lanes and slowing down for stop signs, etc.
If you’re cruising at 60 miles per hour and braking suddenly, you’ll need to accelerate more afterward than if you slowly reduce your speed.
On the highway, stick to one speed for most of the journey unless you need to change lanes, make a stop, or slow down. Also, avoid accelerating every time traffic comes to a halt because it wastes gas and wears your bike out faster due to the extra strain on the engine.
Do Motorcycles Save Money on Gas? Motorcycles, without a doubt, save you money on gas. So, if you’re looking at converting to this mode of transport, you should be aware of the safety needs of a rider.
Motorcycles are dangerous, and even the most experienced riders can have a fatal accident. The excitement of riding a bike can be tempered if the rider isn’t adequately prepared. But with proper gear and preparation, the rider can have a safe and fun day on the road.
No matter the size of bike you ride, The Motorcycle Safety Foundation highlights several items of protective gear a rider should use:
- Jackets, pants, or riding suits
- Face protection
- Face shields
- Rain suits
In a crash, which usually happens suddenly and unexpectedly, you’re unlikely to wear all your protective gear – even if you have it on, it might not protect you from injury or death. In this situation, a helmet is one safety precaution that can ensure you come out alive and well at the end.
That said, the Governors Highway Safety Association highlights the importance of wearing a helmet by stating that in 2017 alone, it saved over 1800 lives.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that your risk of dying drops by as much as 37% if you wear a helmet.
When purchasing a helmet for on-road use, you’ll need to ensure it’s DOT-approved.
For all riders looking for a reliable, high-quality product with a chic, contemporary design, the AGV K3 SV Motorcycle Helmet is a fantastic option that’s readily available on Amazon. It has an outer shell made of high-strength thermoplastic resin for added safety and is DOT-approved.
Do Motorcycles Save Money on Gas? Yes, most of the time they do. Whether you’re on a budget or trying to save money wherever you can, this article might help determine whether you save yourself any money on gas by switching from a car to a motorcycle.
Ultimately, riding a motorcycle is economical. Motorcycles get incredible gas mileage, and the fuel efficiency of a bike can be attributed to its lightweight and aerodynamics.
I've diligently categorized my motorcycle gear recommendations into all available categories, with the aim of providing you with a comprehensive analysis that showcases the absolute best options for all your needs. These items are the culmination of in-depth research, extensive testing, and personal use throughout my vast experience of 50+ years in the world of motorcycling. Besides being a passionate rider, I've held leadership positions and offered consultancy services to reputable companies in over 25 countries. To See Top Picks and the Best Prices & Places to Buy: Click Here!
Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative Government, educational, corporate, and nonprofit organizations:
- The Motorcycle Safety Foundation
- Governors Highway Safety Association
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety