'MythBusters' Say Cars are Greener Than Motorcycles

'MythBusters' Say Cars are Greener Than MotorcyclesYou’d think motorcycles with their low-displacement engines and high power-to-mass ratios would be a significantly greener mode of transportation compared to the average four-door sedan, but that’s not so, according to the crew behind the “MythBusters” television show.

In a segment called “Bike vs. Car” on a recent episode, the “MythBusters” gang aimed to figure out if a motorcycle or a car was more polluting. They compared pairs of cars and motorcycles from three decades — the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s. The cars looked to be a Buick Century, Honda Accord and Ford Taurus, according to the New York Times. The motorcycles and cars were then fitted with tailpipe probes that kept track of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other polluting emissions.

The data was analyzed by professor Kent Johnson, an assistant research engineer, at the University of California at Riverside. He found that motorcycles are technically more fuel efficient and produce fewer greenhouse gases than cars, but they’re still more polluting. That’s because motorcycles spew more noxious pollutants such as nitric oxide (NOx). That’s most likely because few older bikes have emission-reducing catalytic converters or more modern fuel-delivery systems compared to the vintage car, though those systems are increasingly popular on modern motorcycles.

So, there you have it: Cars are better … I mean cleaner. If you disagree, join the discussion over at “MythBusters,” and share your comments here, too.

‘MythBusters’ on Cars vs. Motorcycles: Which Is Greener? (New York Times)

Photo source: UC Riverside

By Colin Bird | October 4, 2011 | Comments (8)
Tags: In The News



Motorcycles certainly produce more NOISE pollution than cars!

Idaho Guy

Maybe its time the Mythbusters crew busted the "loud pipes save lives" myth.

Anonymous Coward

Idaho Guy,
AMEN! I hate those things, as well as straight pipes on diesel pickups, and unmuffled jake brakes. The police should be encouraged to put out spike strips for people with straight pipes / noisy jake brakes. Why do people have to be so inconsiderate?


Yes Coward, put out spike strips so the offending motorcyclists can wreck and die! That will show them....why do you have to be such a bloody idiot?



Instead of the name calling why don't you focus on what you're reading?


"Greener" is not a measurable property, it's okay to say "Emissions".

Matt T.

I've never agreed with the
"loud pipes save lives" mantra - and I'm a motorcyclist. Yes, I have a pipe on my bike. Slightly louder than stock, but not enough to annoy people two blocks away. Here's the inherent flaw in "loud pipes saves lives": what direction does that pipe face? Oh, the REAR? That's great. So people don't necessarily hear you coming, while everyone within a mile-wide cone behind you can tell you've already gone by. I've never understood why authorities have let that crap slide by instead of enforcing it with expensive tickets.

Joseph L.

I agree with Matt T.

By the time I hear and figure out where the noise bike is, it's already in my cars "danger zone". The only thing those pipes do is make me speed up faster than the bike so I don't have to hear that damned noise.

Isn't there a law on how loud something can be before it's considered disturbance of the peace?

Of course it's technically illegal to change lanes without using a turn signal, but when cops don't even use them, then why are they going to care?

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