E-Scooters Are Having a Moment as Gas Prices Surge - The Wall Street Journal
Consumers, sick of paying premium prices at the pumps, increasingly rely on electric scooters to get around.
Sky-high gasoline prices, new commuting habits and a tough car-buying market are sending more people shopping for electric scooters.
Miami e-scooter marketplace and manufacturer Fluidfreeride has sold more than twice as many units this month compared with last, founder Julian Fernau says. Sales are 70% higher than in March 2021, he added, and website traffic is up about 30% since gasoline prices began to shoot up at the fastest rate on record earlier this month. At Bird, another manufacturer, sales have increased 60% and website traffic is up 30% during the same time, according to a spokeswoman.
Interest in e-scooters and similar e-bikes, which are just like the original versions only with a motor, has been rising for a couple of years, as supply issues have hurt car availability and commuting habits have changed during the pandemic. That interest has been supercharged more recently by pain at the pump. Some people have been thinking about buying an e-scooter for years; others had never even ridden before, but now say they want to scoot, instead of drive, to their office, grocery store or friends’ houses.
Kris Mercado hit purchase on an e-scooter on Amazon after visiting a gas station last week. The 32-year-old freelance photo retoucher—who uses plural pronouns and the gender-neutral Mx.—says $20 once nearly filled their Subaru Impreza’s 13-gallon tank, but this time it barely paid for a quarter tank.
“I was like, ‘This is unacceptable,’ ” Mx. Mercado says. “I couldn’t do it anymore.”
Mx. Mercado calculated that a new Hiboy S2 scooter, which cost $460, would pay for itself after about five trips from their home in Newark, N.J., to their girlfriend’s apartment in Queens, N.Y., using an e-scooter and public transportation, compared with the roughly $100 round-trip cost of going by car, after factoring in tolls, parking and gas.