Petrol fuel service station Garry McCoy

Time to promote fuel economy benefits

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.

Although fuel economy is not as good as it might be. Click here to find out why.

Meanwhile, 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 differentfuel gauges MBW Motorbike Writer fuel scooter economy

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.

Ad pool

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.

Near-record highsDirty fuel - ethanol fuel economy

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.”

ACCC reply

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 footnoteMBW Motorbike Writer fuel scooter economy

Actually, while motorcycles have greater power-to-weight performance than cars, they are not all that economical given their comparative weight and size.

Click here see to find out why. 

Then check out these five ways you can improve your bike’s fuel consumption.

  1. Promoting motor cycle benefits over motor cars in any way at all brings the promotor up against the police, government and the media, all of whom actively work, promote and advertise against motorcycling. Any body wishing to promote motorcycling will need to be clever and well funded to be effective, I reckon.

  2. My 2015 Suzuki Vstrom 650 is great on fuel (20L tank ) . My last fill up was at 479.8 km , with 1 bar , but flashing . Fuel put in, to the top , was 18 Lt . I don’t ride to get good KM and like to whip through gears to get away from the cars at lights . Fuel consumption is from 3.6l – 4.1 l /100 km

  3. There are two barriers to overcome in getting newcomers on to bikes. One is the misconception that riding is dangerous. The other is the sheer lack of good cheap comfortable readily available work place suitable riding gear.
    Safety can be addressed by stating that bikes are the safest vehicles on the road which they are just not so much for the riders but they are far safer than push bikes.
    The clothing is the biggest problem. Your choices are black black or black in a few odd sizes that fit jockeys or strange gorilla people with tiny feet, pastels, pinks and rainbow in the same aforementioned sizes or hipster in whatever size they come in.
    If you want gear that fits, is comfortable and you don’t have to pay a premium for, you need to hit up the work wear and boating places for pants and wet weather gear and see a tailor if you want some armour fitted. Shopping online would be the way to go if you could trust the seller hasn’t just crossed out small and written in large on the size label.

  4. Bikes definitely use less fuel, but once you factor in $500 for tyres every 10,000 km, or even more for big sports bikes, along with high servicing costs, one starts to wonder about the economic benefits. My new car, which is just a 1200 petrol turbo AWD (Toyota C-HR Koba) uses around 6 l / 100 km, which is only slightly more than my mate’s R1200 GS, and at 15,000 km the tyres are showing no noticeable wear. The 15,000 km service it just had cost $195, as will the next four; the 60,000 km service my F800 GS has just had was $1100 with tyres. The bike sure is a lot of fun though!

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