By: Krista Bagley
With gas prices soaring, people in Columbia are gripping the handlebars instead of the steering wheel. Charlie Hager, a junior at USC, has been a moped driver for a year and a half.
"Owning a moped is pretty sweet," said Hager.
He says he bought the moped so that he could get a sweet deal on gas.
"Most mopeds only have about a gallon tank, so you're only spending between two and three dollars every time you go, and that usually gets you about 100 miles, or in my moped's case about 60 kilometers," said Hager.
The Oil Information Services says gas prices may hit $4 or more by Memorial Day, and as the numbers continue to rise at the pump so will the number of moped drivers on the streets.
Billy Campbell, owner of Hawg Scooters, says he expects business to boom come May 1.
"With gas getting near $4, everybody's like oh, I need to find a different type of motor transportation. Well, for 750 bucks you can get 85 miles to the gallon and you don't have to pay taxes. So leave that Yukon or Explorer parked, and do your daily commutes on your scooter because that's where you burn the most gas, that's where you put the most wear and tear on your car, so do it on your scooter," said Campbell.
There is a downside to riding a moped, though, said moped owner Hager.
"If you're going to be a moped rider there's a few things you have to take care of. You have to get gloves, a hat and a really good raincoat. And as any moped rider knows you're just praying for it to be spring again because it is really cold," said Hager.
Whether rain or shine, come May, Hager won't be sweating the prices at the pump.
For more information about moped laws, safety, insurance, and the overall pros and cons, visit the Motorcycle Industry Council's website.