28 September 2008
No speeding tickets for this one
Car or motor scooter?
America has recently been introduced to the Smart, a small car Europeans have known for many years. The Smart, however is not the smallest car Europeans have to choose from. When gasoline hovers around $9 per gallon Italians look for ways to save on fuel besides the obvious of walking, riding a bicycle, moped or even an Ape three wheeler.
Vehicles in Italy are classified by the size of the engine and this affects both cars and motorized bikes. Vehicles with small engines fewer than 50cm can be driven by those without a regular driver’s license, even a “car”. Now bear in mind a car with an engine under 50cm will break no speed records as their top speed is 45 kilometers per hour, or roughly 28 mph. These vehicles are small, smaller than a Smart, rickety and rather noisy and have the same license plates as those used on a motor scooter. They sound like a lawnmower when the start up and get moving. But if you want to get around the compact cities of Italy, especially on a cold rainy day then these can be quite practical and useful.