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What is the Difference Between a Gas and an Electric Scooter?

By Holly Collins
Updated May 23, 2024
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The difference between a gas scooter and an electric scooter is the way in which they are powered. Gas scooters are propelled by a motor that converts gasoline into energy and electric scooters are propelled by a motor that generates energy from electricity. Many types of gas and electric scooters are available, ranging from recreational toys suitable for older children, to motorcycle-like options offering real life transportation abilities.

Gas scooter engines are generally simplified car engines that burn gasoline to power the scooter. This type of scooter is very fuel-efficient with a much higher mile per gallon rating than a car. Their engines are louder than electric scooters and not as environmentally friendly. Electric scooters use rechargeable batteries to power their motors. They are very quiet and result in no toxic emissions.

Both types of scooters come in a wide variety of price and model options. Generally, when referring to the smaller engine scooters designed for children’s recreational use, a gas scooter will provide more hill-climbing power and is able to carry more weight at faster speeds. Electric scooters can achieve comparable speeds in flat areas but are often slower on inclines. Weight limits on smaller electric scooters can also be lower than those gas scooters provide.

Another difference between a gas and an electric scooter is their run times. Depending on the size of the electric scooter’s battery, they often have less continuous drive time than their gas counterparts. This holds true for the smaller toy-sized models as well as the larger motorcycle-comparable varieties. Average operational time for a toy-sized gas scooter is about 40 minutes. Larger motorcycle-type electric scooters usually have about a 60 mile (96.6 km) capacity before they need recharging.

This is not to say that drive time in electric scooters is inadequate, as most are easily recharged at a standard electrical wall outlet. Recharging an electric battery is less expensive than purchasing fuel, making operating costs another difference between an electric and gas scooters. Both gas and electric scooter motors are easily repairable.

The difference between gas and electric scooters' effect on the environment is significant. Gas scooters are not held to the same emission standards as cars, and their toxic outputs can be considerably higher. Electric scooters produce no toxic emissions, running completely clean. Electric scooter motors also run almost silently, whereas gas engines can be loud.

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Discussion Comments
By Drentel — On Jan 25, 2015

@Animandel - Most towns and counties classify any electric scooter less than 500 watts as a bicycle. Once you get beyond that point you might as well be operating a high-powered motorcycle as far as the law is concerned.

By Animandel — On Jan 25, 2015

Electric scooters are good for kids because they don't need a license to operate some of the smaller ones. The traffic laws in most places look at them as bicycles. I'm not sure at what exact level of watts of power you need a license for these. With the gas scooters you need a license in most, if not all, places.

However, before I purchase a scooter for my children I will insist that they take a motorcycle or scooter driving class, so they will know all of the laws and safety procedure. And so they will have some experience before hopping on the vehicles and hitting the streets.

By Laotionne — On Jan 24, 2015

I see scooters all over the city when I am driving around. I never thought I would want a scooter rather than a car, but in many situations they are better. When the traffic is congested, the guys on the scooters are the only ones making any progress.

I don't know if they are supposed to do this, but they can drive right by cars stuck in traffic because the scooters only need a small lane of space to get through. I also like that the gas scooters use so little gas. This is really a big deal for me with gas prices being the way they have been for so long now. Even when the gas prices drop a little, I always know that it is only a matter of time before they go up again.

By Feryll — On Jan 23, 2015

I would prefer to buy an electric powered scooter instead of a gas powered scooter simply because of the price of gas and the harmful fumes given off from gas engines, but I worry that the power of the electric scooter will be lacking to the point that it would be inconvenient. I don't want to be cruising along on my scooter at a nice rate of speed only to reach a hill and slow to a snail's pace.

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