High Gas Prices Spark Two Wheeler Sales in West Texas

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Every day it feels like gas prices are going nowhere but up.

With no foreseeable drop in the future, local businesses are seeing a new trend, a trend of change when it comes to people's vehicles. When it comes to that commute to work, more and more people are dropping four wheels for two. Just ask Peyton's Bicycle Shop.

"We have seen a huge increase in sales," Peyton's Owner, David Ham, said. "More and more people that are actually looking at riding their bike to work trying to save a little money from the gas and hopefully a little fitness in there too."

Peyton's told NewsWest 9 in the last few weeks they've seen a 10% increase in sales and they expect more.

When NewsWest 9 arrived there earlier this week, some customers had just purchased new bikes. They couldn't go on camera but did say they were buying them to save on gas from the short trip to their work.

"Four or five mile ride? You can almost do it as fast on a bicycle as you can in a car," Ham said. "Several months you could have your bicycle paid for in just your savings if you did it all the time."

Two wheelers become hot commodities when gas prices get too high.

Some motorcycles in stores around the Basin get nearly 50 miles to the gallon.

Compare that with a truck that may just get 18 miles per gallon and some retailers said the cost of that bike will be made up in gas savings.

"Most of the bikes we sell get over 40 miles a gallon so when that price starts hitting $3-3.50 a gallon we do see people coming in here looking for more efficient ways to get to work," Midland Powersports Owner, Tom Heller, said.

Heller said the draw of more mileage for less money is bringing more people in as well.

He said it's similar to when gas prices skyrocketed back in 2008 but that with the unrest in the Middle East largely being blamed for this spike, he's not sure if they'll come back down.

"I think the occasion now that we've got, I'm not sure these prices will ever go down below $3 a gallon," Heller said. "With what's happening in the world it just might stay at $3 a gallon and 45-50 miles a gallon per motorcycle sounds very attractive to a lot of people."

That attraction seems to be catching on.

Reportedly, Midland Mayor Wes Perry is taking part too.

"Mayor Perry is a pretty good customer of ours," Ham said. "He comes in quite often. He has been riding to work when possible."

And with gas prices not going down, who knows how higher the sale of two wheelers will go.