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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Eco Moto will help you save our atmosphere on the way to school

By Andy Thompson

With summer approaching and the price of gasoline climbing to $3 a gallon, it is time to do what any good financial adviser would suggest: Diversify your portfolio.

In this case, that means modes of transportation.

It is forgivable to drive a Suburban (aptly dubbed the Mormon Assault Vehicle by some on campus) if you’re hauling around a family of seven. It’s probably necessary to have a super duty F-250 to transport construction material. And it’s a good idea to have an H2 with super-sized tires and platinum-plated rims when picking up MC Hammer at the airport to take him to a gig at Harry O’s.

The above vehicles are important parts of any transportation fleet, but for that beautiful May day when all you need is to pick up a gallon of milk, it would be nice not to burn gas at a rate only ExxonMobil shareholders would appreciate.

The optimum mode for cruising around Salt Lake City can be found at Eco Moto. U junior Jonathan Schlee owns the scooter and electric bike shop and has been “advancing transportation” since 2003. Eco Moto’s original location was near the U on 1300 East, but Schlee moved the shop to State Street to accommodate the growing demand for the alternative transit.

“We sell fun,” Schlee said. “People don’t necessarily look forward to driving, but with a scooter, you look for an excuse to go out for a ride.”

There are more than 350 scooters in stock at Eco Moto, ranging from the gas-powered and hybrid variety to solely electric.

The all-electric scooter called Vectrix — which can only be found at Eco Moto — has a 20-kilowatt motor and can reach 50 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds. Through regenerative braking, the Vectrix recaptures 50 percent of its energy, Schlee said. This enables the scooter to go 75 miles on one charge.

For those who prefer bicycles but do not want to be covered in sweat when they get to work or face a tough hill in their commute, Eco Moto has electric-motored bikes. It also can equip outside bikes that people bring in with a motor.

“I’ve had customers that have one car in the family but they need another vehicle (for someone) to get to work,” Schlee said. “A scooter is a relatively inexpensive way to address that issue.”

The Eco in Eco Moto is derived from both the ecological and economical advantages to owning a scooter or electric bike, Schlee said. Scooters are cheap to insure, get good gas mileage and have a low depreciation.

And who knows, with the ever-warming temperatures scooters might be feasible well into the winter months, alleviating the toxic valley inversion.

Eco Moto is participating in a scooter ride on April 29 to build awareness for all two-wheeled transportation. Details can be found at ecomoto.com, or you can just stop by 1050 S. State St. to be a part of the transit evolution.

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