Fuel prices have soared across the country, yet none of the motorcycle companies is advertising fuel economy or other advantages to riding, compared with cars or public transport.
Surely with prices for fuel at near-record levels, motorcycles and scooters must be an attractive proposition for a lot of motorists.
A modern 250cc motorcycle or scooter will get around 2.8L/100km (85mpg), and there’s not a car on the planet that can match that kind of economy.
Yet all we can find are ads for motorcycles and scooters that promote their speed and excitement, nothing about fuel economy or other practicalities.
That’s because the industry views motorcycles as a leisure and luxury item, not a transport necessity.
Obviously, many riders feel the same way, but advertising about fuel economy would be directed at newcomers, not existing riders.
Now for something completely different
For the industry to survive the current worrying downturn in sales, it needs to target newcomers and try something different. Current marketing ad promotional strategies are obviously not working.
What is needed are ads about the economical and practical aspects of motorcycles and scooters.
After all, they not only burn less fuel than the average car, more bikes on the road would make our traffic flow better, reduce pollution, decrease demand for more infrastructure and reduce pressure on available parking spaces.
Surely a whole advertising campaign on the time-saving benefits of lane filtering would also attract newcomers!
The problem is that advertising such qualities is genre-based rather than promoting a particular make or model.
The closest to a generic motorcycle campaign from a manufacturer was Honda’s famous 1960s slogan “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”, but even that pushed the brand.
Few motorcycle companies are keen to spend money advertising qualities that could also advantage their competitors.
Instead, they advertise what makes them different from their competitors.
Perhaps what is needed is an industry-wide pool of advertising money to promote the general benefits of powered two-wheelers, rather than specific makes or models.
Such generic ads would be targeted at newcomers to motorcycling and would have far-reaching benefits for riders and the motorcycle industry.
After all, the more riders there are on the roads, the more political clout we have and the more money there will be in the industry for new and better products.
At the moment, the only ones promoting the general benefits of riding are the rider representative groups, but they are preaching to the choir.
RACQ Principal Policy Advisor Ian Jeffreys says the recent high ULP prices are close to a four-year high.
“Prices this high were last observed in July 2014,” he says.
The record high daily average ULP price for Brisbane was 165.5cpl on January 2, 2014.
“The majority of the recent increase is due to increases in the oil price,” Ian says.
“This is due to the OPEC production cut, increasing geopolitical tension in the Middle East and the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal.
“On top of these, refiner and retail margins are elevated compared to historic levels.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission monitors fuel prices and trade practices. Here is what they had to say about fuel prices:
- The ACCC shares consumers’ concerns about high petrol prices.
- The ACCC has no role in setting fuel prices; however it works hard to promote and deliver price transparency in the petrol market to ensure people across the country can find the best possible deals for their fuel.
- Fuel retailers in Australia are allowed to set their own retail prices for fuel, but they must set their prices independently of other retailers.
- The ACCC encourages motorists to use available information, including internet sites and free fuel apps, to find which retail sites within a reasonable distance from their home or workplace are offering the best available prices.
- Buying fuel from retailers offering the cheapest prices is important. Firstly, it can potentially saves customers significant amounts of money on their annual fuel bill, and it also sends a strong message to retailers that they need to offer their customers low prices to win their business.
Fuel economy footnote
Actually, while motorcycles have greater power-to-weight performance than cars, they are not all that economical given their comparative weight and size.