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Save on Gas - Alternative Transportation

Updated on July 2, 2015

With gas prices climbing and the impact of the BP Oil Spill to consider, we need to think about alternative ways of getting around other than the regular old automobile. Here in the United States, as of the date of this publishing, the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded is near $4.00/gallon.

In Europe, people pay much more for a litre of petrol (which, by the way, is less than a gallon). We are all aware of walking, biking or riding mass transit to work. But if you're not in favor of these tried and true methods, what else can we do in this day and age?

Although this article was written from a humorous standpoint, the reality is that we seriously need to consider ways of getting around that do not require gas! Whether you can commit to walking, riding the bus or biking is up to you. But do give it some thought.

Over 100 years ago, people were coming up with creative alternatives for transportation
Over 100 years ago, people were coming up with creative alternatives for transportation
At $4.00/gallon, who wouldn't?
At $4.00/gallon, who wouldn't?

Many Have Considered Alternative Transportation to Save on Gas

Fortunately, there are some very creative inventors that have considered this question, long before we have! In fact, in the early 1900s, a "sail wagon" was invented. All you need is a really windy day and some strong arms to steer the contraption. This would be ideal in Chicago and other similar cities!

Perhaps this contraption doesn't, er, "float your boat?" Well, there are many other ways of getting around by human-powered energy. No fossil fuels required. Some don't even require electricity, either! Have you seen the road vehicle that is completely human energy driven? Check it out in the video to the right! The biggest challenge is getting together a great carpool group of similarly minded individuals. This ought to make heads turn at the office.

You might be more of a loner. Maybe carpooling in the 21st century is not for you. Then you may want to consider a human catapult. For relatively short and straight commutes (as a crow flies) you can put together a contraption that can fling you at least 100 yards towards your work or the grocery store. Return flight not included. Can you stomach it?

In all seriousness, there are many inventive options for traveling that you may not have considered. Read on for more ideas...

Human-Powered Car

The Segway
The Segway
Electric Skateboard: travels up to 22 mph
Electric Skateboard: travels up to 22 mph
Zappy Pro Electric Scooter
Zappy Pro Electric Scooter

Scooter-type Options for Alternative Transportation

The Segway Human Transporter was unveiled with great hype in 2001. Steve Jobs claimed that "IT," as it was formerly known, would be as important an invention as the PC. Obviously, since many people do not even know about it, the Segway has not lived up to such hype. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a creative way to travel around town, you may want to consider this device (shown on the right). It travels up to 13 mph, and has a range of 8-12 miles. It runs on a battery-powered motor that is recharged by plugging into an electrical outlet. Just stand on the platform and lean forward to go - lean backwards to back up. Perfect balance is not required, as it self-adjusts with gyroscopic sensors. It may not be good for Grandma, however, as the Segway lacks brakes!

For an even more thrilling ride, you can travel on a wireless remote controlled electric skateboard! Be sure to wear a helmet with this beauty. You control the board at speeds up to 22 miles per hour from a digital wireless remote control. Some (but not all) models have electric brake options. I'm thinking that if I got one of these, there would be an automatic "break."

My favorite of these options is the Zappy Pro Electric Scooter. Like the Segway, this baby can move at up to 13 mph, but it has a longer range. Zappy can travel up to 24 miles without a recharge. It also runs on a battery-powered motor. For trips to the store or school, there is a convenient basket in the front. When the sidewalk gets a big congested, just honk the horn to get people to move out of your way! One small drawback, however, is the resemblance to a child's tricycle. Look at the big guy to the right. Its just not macho.

The coolest ride of these is definitely the Personal Hover Scooter. Check this thing out! The New York Times declared it a "miniature flying saucer with handlebars." Getting around on this device could definitely be hair-raising. You are literally hovering above the ground on an air cushion. An engine powered fan lifts the hover scooter above the ground, while air exiting the back vent propels it forward. Make it go faster by leaning back - you can move at speeds up to 15 mph. Oh, and it can be yours for only $17,000!

Human Catapult

Personal Hover Scooter
Personal Hover Scooter
Innovative Hybrid 3-wheel car
Innovative Hybrid 3-wheel car

Cool Cars Can Help Save on Gas

At least for the next few years, it could still be economically feasible to drive a car. You will want to think about shifting to a hybrid, or at least a very small car that merely sips gas while enjoying impressive gas mileage.

For one of the latest models that is expected to hit the market soon, explore the model created by Venture Vehicles. This is a 2-passenger, three-wheeled car that is said to have the capability of delivering over 100 miles per gallon, at over 100 mph. It will be powered by an efficient hybrid propulsion system with amazing acceleration: 0-60 in less than 6 seconds. Once this car is available, you should be able to purchase one for approximately $20,000. Two hybrid options will be available: regular HEV and a plug-in electric hybrid model (PEHV).

A little too futuristic for you? Then how about the 100% electric Chevy Volt? It is a slick looking ride! Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 2008, this model is unlike other hybrids. It is entirely powered by batteries that are re-charged by either plugging it into an electric socket, or by a small gasoline engine. The time is almost here when we can commute to work in a car, without using any gasoline. The corporation hopes that it will be available in 2010.

The Chevy Volt
The Chevy Volt

The Smart Car Can Help You Save on Gas

One hopes that the "SmartCar" will get a bit more intelligent and add some plug-in or other hybrid options for consumers.

Currently, however, this tiny car is very fuel efficient for a regular "gas" vehicle. It can travel at speeds up to 90 mph and boasts highway mpg of 40-45 (in town 33-40 mpg). Only 2 passengers can fit. Groceries, optional.

Human-Powered Hydrofoil

Other Inventive Options of Alternative Transportation

Working out while you commute is also an option if you have to travel across a body of water. Check out the human-powered hydrofoil in the video below! Absolutely no batteries and no gas to make this thing move. Your sack lunch might get wet, though. Maybe a kayak would be a better choice after all.

When its time to take to the friendly skies, maybe you need not fasten your seat-belt and put your tray in the upright position. You can simply fly yourself to your destination with a jet-pack. Think about the thrills you could have. "It's a bird, its a plane.... its a man with a jet-pack!" Surely this device uses much less fuel than an airplane. Your insurance costs may outweigh any savings, however.

For a little more down to earth experience, consider the "Go-One3." This is an encased reclining bicycle that protects its rider from the elements with a windshield. It features headlights, a taillight and turn signals! 100% human-powered, you need not worry about batteries dying or stopping by the gas station. A great alternative, the main drawback appears to be the cost - starting at nearly $11,000.

Fly with a Jet Pack!

What Would you do to save Gas?

Now that high gas prices are here to stay, what are you willing to do?

See results

Tried and True Methods of Saving on Gas

To save on gas, its easy to overlook many of the basic methods that have been around for decades or longer:

  • Carpooling
  • Bicycling
  • Walking
  • Mass transit (bus, subway, tram, train, etc.)

Many workplaces offer incentives for employees who use these "green" commute options. This may include a discount on transit passes, carpool parking, or even lower health care premiums for walking or bicycling to work regularly.

It is time to get creative in our decisions concerning personal transportation.

While some of the options discussed in this Hub are unusual or even outrageous, we may not be laughing as hard when we get our monthly fuel bill, or when we hand the cashier a $100 bill to fill the tank of our compact car.


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    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Somethgblue - It was a fun hub to write. We really do have to think about other means of transportation that are not gas or oil-based. Cheers, Steph

    • somethgblue profile image


      7 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      That was a really cool hub, I really liked it thanks . . . put a smile on my face and was very informative.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      If you've picked some pointers about Save on Gas - Alternative Transportation that you can put into action, then by all means, do so. You won't really be able to gain any benefits from your new knowledge if you don't use it.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks TCA - sometimes humor is an excellent way to make a point. Appreciate the visit and the comment. :)

    • profile image

      Transportation Collection Agency 

      8 years ago

      Thought provoking Hub. I like how you use humor to make your point. It makes your argument easy to accept. Well done.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      hi good day to all am I just to ask if what would be the alternative way of having a gas just like what we used everyday.. Am as what I heard we can produce gases in our septic tank at this really true?? if there's who can elaborate an distinguish it kindly send me an email in this account pls... thanks a lot

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      So many fun, unique ways to get around that don't involve cars! My son got an electric scooter for Christmas. I may have to "borrow" it to run errands. Alternative transportation can be creative and fun!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i love the 'human catapult'! but its kinda dangerous but of course! its just...nice to watch!!

    • JakeAuto profile image


      8 years ago from Calif.

      Great image finds, I just saw the Zappy Pro on My Name is Earl, it was part of their homeland security gear showed at the fair.

    • zave9021 profile image


      9 years ago from Chico, Ca

      Very nice.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is one of the most complete and easily read treatments of gas-saving transport I've seen. Thanks!

      One more addition, for those who might be interested, is the Stowboard foldable skateboard. This is a very smooth-riding, high-tech mode of human powered transportation, and you can easily take it with you, folded up small, without having to haul it around under your arm. Great for carry-on luggage and lockers. I carry it in an old computer pack.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Earnesthub - when I saw that I had a comment on this hub, I was wondering whether someone would be pointing out the fact that gas is now quite inexpensive. :) No matter, as you point out, we should all be driving less! I am glad that you pointed out one of the isssues related to electric cars. Some people that have installed solar panels on their homes are actually recharging electric cars with clean energy. Also, some park and ride facilities are including solar panels on their roofs to provide the electricity for recharging. There is still quite a ways to go, but hopefully one day soon, we will be very much into using alternative transportation rather than gas-hogging vehicles.

      Thanks for the great comment. :)

    • earnestshub profile image


      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Hi Steph. I just found your hub months after you wrote it, and here in Australia gas prices are currently very low as I believe they are now in America. Makes no difference though as pollution, parking space and freeways cutting up the country are still relevent and major issues for us all.

      I have driven the Smart car from Merceded Benz and it is noisy, handles like a block of apartments, uses too much fuel for it's size. It leaks, rattles and does not feel safe. Very dissapointing all round.

      I still use my 24 year old Honda (It has a different name in several countries) which I share with my son. It is called a Honda City out here and seats four adults returning 30 to 40 mpg depending on use.

      I like to look at alternative transport, and have written about transport for several Australian magazines in the past and currently on hubs, but when it comes to hybrids and electric cars I will only be interested when we stop using brown coal fired power stations to fuel them.They may have zero emissions out the exhaust, but that does not make them clean fuel vehicles by a long shot. Like you, I think if you can ride a bicycle or walk it is a great way to do several things at once including staying fit.In Our major cities in Australia sprawl out over many miles and cars are still needed by most families to get around.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Madhu! Watch out for those catapults. LOL. And yes, we sure can do a lot more to keep energy costs down. Walking is a first step. No pun intended.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      wow! what an idea, human catapult. I sure can use it for certain humans, since it has no return ticket. But jokes apart , this article makes you sit up and think. Think about the ways to hold your future in your hands. And yes nothing to beat walking.Thumbs up friend, keep it up.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks victoryv! Yes, we cannot continue in our ways of driving SUVs and fueling up without a thought or care. Alternative fuels and new ways of getting around need to be considered. I appreciate the comment!

    • victoryv profile image


      10 years ago from india

      enjoys reading your hub.We need to try out these options in near future in think.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      thank you, esocial! The smart car is so tiny and cute! I've seen them driving around here. :-)

    • esocial profile image


      10 years ago from California

      Love this hub! And Smart Cars :) Have a little VW Beetle, but wow, is that Smart Car even smaller -- -- love it!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Me too moifah! Isn't that innovative and hilarious at the same time?

    • moifah profile image


      10 years ago from United States

      Great Hub. Personally I find the personal hover scooter the most entertaining.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I am so happy that I struck a good chord here! Thank you, Misha, Joel, einron, Callin and Rob for so many great posts. Let's all try to walk a bit more this month (or this summer) with the warmer weather. I'm game!

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 

      10 years ago from Midwest USA

      Great hub. It's only a matter of time before we all get fed up with the insane price of gasoline. If we can send men to the moon and back, we can build a better, extremely fuel-effficient gasoline (or other) motor. It's just a matter of time. Thanks for another winner!

    • Cailin Gallagher profile image

      Cailin Gallagher 

      10 years ago from New England

      Wow! As usual, very well researched and presented. A+

      I love the Fred Flintsone-mobile. We're thinking of turning in our wheels, moving closer to town and hoofing it everywhere the old-fashioned way. New Yorkers have it made. Walking is the best form of getting around if you can. Thanks for the tips.

    • einron profile image


      10 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Humourous! Innovative!

    • Joel McDonald profile image

      Joel McDonald 

      10 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Great flagship post Steph! You struck a chord with me. I personally believe that commuting is one of the largest contributors to environmental pollution, and wrote a hub on the topic just a few days ago. After coming across your post, I've added it as a reference on my hub.

      Hope you don't mind ;-)

    • Misha profile image


      10 years ago from DC Area

      That's a nice one!

      I love your creativity, Steph :)

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Karen, I am with you on the alternative ideas (springing forth in my mind before we hit $3.00/gallon). My dad works for a company that is lobbying for PEHVs and trying to get them into mainstream and also retro-fit Park and Ride lots so that people can plug in and charge while they ride the bus - a bit advanced for Central Oregon, but in cities like Seattle it could be a bit hit.

      Andy, yes - walking whenever possible is so smart! People are so used to just hopping in the car, its really a habit we have to be conscious to break.

      Earth Angel - what a great comment! Thank you so much. I think what you and your neighbors are doing is 100% awesome! 5 miles one way.... that is quite a bit of walking. But, then again, if you are able-bodied and have the time, you should definitely consider whether your trip demands a vehicle. Thanks again!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      10 years ago

      GREAT Hub Steph!! Looks like a Flagship to me!! Thank you!!

      As an American/Californian it has always bothered me that we "cry" over such circumstances as unfair, like $4-5 dollar a gallon gasoline, when the rest of the world has paid so much more for so many years!!

      I am not happy that the price of petrol has risen so much, YET, we in the U.S. had a chance in the 70's to change our ways and we squandered it!! I was shocked last year (2007) when the Detroit Auto Makers unveiled bigger and more high powered cars!! A 12-cylinder Cadillac?? What are they thinking!!?? If it takes a hit in the pocket-book to wake us up, so be it!!

      The Chevy Volt is gorgeous!! I love style and wouldn't care if it moved slower than a bicycle!! The Smart Car is the rage in Asia but wouldn't last a nono-second in the U.S. as it like driving 90 mph in a tin can!! No safety at all!! They aren't even water tight against a drizzle of rain!!

      I live and work near the Beach!! My neighborhood (about 100 people so far) has taken a vow to walk anywhere that is less than 5 miles one way!! In the GREAT weather, we have been having a blast together!!

      When the errand is more than 5 miles, we have been combining trips!! We notify each other by email of who is going where and when!! I needed some things at Whole Foods and my neighbor needed to have her car serviced!! Within no time we both satisfied our needs/wants in one trip!! And had a lovely visit along the way!!

      Again, GREAT Hub Steph!! Keep up the wonderful work!!

      Blessing always, Earth Angel!!

    • Andy Xie profile image

      Andy Xie 

      10 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      Great hub, Steph. I enjoyed the part about the scooters especially. I haven't yet driven a Smart Car, although I really want to and test it out. It's just so... small.

      I think walking is a great option if you live in the city or a convenient suburbs location. The slower pace really lets you enjoy your neighborhood more. I just really hate it when there aren't sidewalks where you need them.

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 

      10 years ago from Central Oregon

      Hi Steph,

      I love the sail car at the top. I did think about this when gas was still under three dollars. My thoughts were alot like the Go-One3, but I thought it could be broader in the front so it could be powered by one or two people with the storage in the back seat for groceries. Then I was watching a tv program and found out they already had something similar in New York - they looked pretty snazzie. Bycicle Rickshaws. "gree taxis" - pretty cool.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      In the Doghouse, I have seen several of the SmartCars around and they look cute and interesting! We had a developer in town offering free SmartCars to people that closed on a purchase of one of his homes last year!

      Isabella - you are right. As Americans, we often don't stop to realize that we're paying less than most of the rest of the world for fuel.

      Daniel, great comment! We walked to and from my son's baseball game today, a little less than a mile away. So many people there seemed embarrassed when I pointed out how foolish I thought it was to drive there on this lovely day (since they had all done so!)

    • danielpyle profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Think of this....If 30% of society decided just to start a home business and quit driving and working outside the home what would happen. Our fuel costs dropped $340 per month. We got rid of the other car which was another $385 per month. Insurance dropped another $100 per month. I start getting paid when I start working and not losing money on the as always love the the the energy. Keep cookin' with gas!

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 

      10 years ago

      There's a sporty version of the Smart Car that looks pretty cool. Id be pretty happy if gas was only 4 bucks a gallon, though.. its about 8 where I live. ;)

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California


      Great Hub! I first encountered the "Smart" car in Switzerland several years ago and wanted so badly for them to make it to the US. I have seen only a couple on the road in my neck of the woods, but would love to own one myself...they are sooooo cute! lol Scooters and skateboards, (and for a while Vespa's) are also big in Cali! lol It must have something to do with the beach atmosphere I guess. Amy, let us know how your husband liked the idea of a human catapult, mine spends quite a bit in transportation daily, the alternative might just work! lol

      Great JOB again!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you funnebone!

      pjdscott - you were definitely ahead of the curve! Quality time with the wife is excellent. I carpooled with my husband for years when we lived in Seattle.

      2patricias, great idea about getting a cart with wheels to help bring groceries home!

      Amy, that is so funny about the security guards! I was laughing at the Segway website when it was advertising to law enforcement, etc. Anyone in that profession should be able to run. What a sight that must be... LOL

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      LOL, Steph, this was a fun hub! The security gaurds at our local mall use The Segway - I guess they just can't keep up with the theives on foot anymore. And they are apparently required to wear protective gear while riding them(elbow pads and bike helmets), which is very entertaining to my children. Okay, I laugh too...

      Thanks for the giggles :) Maybe I can interest my husband in the human catapult to get him to work...

    • 2patricias profile image


      10 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Entertaining hub. When I worked in an office I used to share. Now that I work at home my former sharer and I meet at the local farmers' market every few weeks - trying to 'be green' in another way.

      Practical hint for walking more - you can do some grocery shopping if you have a little cart with wheels to haul your purchases home. (that's if you live within a mile or on a bus route of the store).

    • pjdscott profile image


      10 years ago from Durham, UK

      Steph - great hub! I'm a Toyota Prius owner (since 2005 I hasten to add) and have fallen in love with motoring again. I can't imagine any of your whacky ideas tempting me awy from it...!

      I also cycle to work and share the car with a very glamerous car pooler - my wife!

    • funnebone profile image


      10 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

      very nice hub!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you, vrajavala! I enjoyed putting this together.

    • vrajavala profile image


      10 years ago from Port St. Lucie

      Steph, this is a fantastic hub and shows a lot of reseach and creativity.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      That is one cool car, isn't it? Thanks!

    • solarshingles profile image


      10 years ago from london

      Steph, as always, this is a TOP alternative energy hub! I especially like that silver bullet in the form of The Chevy Volt.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      LOL - good one! ;-)

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 

      10 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Cool stuff... I think I'll stick to constantly walking. 8-) Get-it, hu? Get-it?


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