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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

When Less Means More: Living Green

Amanda Tran |
July 23, 2010 | 2:04 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Go green with Neon Tommy every week. (Creative Commons)
Go green with Neon Tommy every week. (Creative Commons)

Months after what President Obama has deemed “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced,” we have yet to see the end of the problems caused by the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast.

President Obama has urged action on an energy bill to change the way the nation consumes and generates energy, saying the expanding oil spill is “the most painful and powerful reminder that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.”

The disaster has been a nationwide wakeup call.

In Los Angeles, local environmental groups are pushing for stronger legislation to protect California beaches, while some L.A. residents have voiced their concerns through weekly protests.

But what about the Angelenos who foresaw this disaster long before it struck? Many have long known that inspiring great change is derived from individual efforts.

Join Neon Tommy in a weekly series to find L.A. residents, businesses and organizations dedicated to living greener, cleaner and more sustainable lifestyles.

These local movers and shakers show us that living a “greener” lifestyle may be the first step we need to take in order to solve our environmental woes.

Week 1:

Los Angeles still tops the list as being one of the most polluted cities, ranking first for ozone pollution.

Unsurprisingly, a new study showed traffic congestion in L.A. is worse than any other city in the country.

How can L.A. residents change the way they travel to shake off these dismal rankings?  

South Pasadena resident Frank Minero might have the answer: electric scooters.

Neon Tommy chatted with Minero, owner of UrbanScooters.com, an online electric scooter and bike business.

NT:  What is the demographic of most of your customers?
FM: We have quite a few people who call in to purchase scooters for their businesses, especially those with large warehouses or a large lot. We’ve had calls from Google and Microsoft, and movie studio lots as well.

A majority of our customers are younger. A lot of parents will buy scooters for their kids. But we also have people of all ages buy our products for transportation. Older, active seniors buy our scooters if they need a little more help to get around. College campuses are also popular—scooters help students get to classes especially when they’re on opposite ends of the campus.

NT: Have you noticed an increase in sales since you started in 2002?

FM: Business has picked up steadily. More people are moving toward greener transportation option and looking to reduce their carbon footprint. We also see an increase in business that matches the price of gasoline. A couple years ago when gas hit the $5 mark, sales went through the roof. The more pain at the pump, the more our phones ring.

Frank Minero, owner, UrbanScooters.com
Frank Minero, owner, UrbanScooters.com
NT: How did you get started in the electric scooter business?
FM: I got involved with the business when electric scooters first hit the scene in 2002. They were new, interesting and a great way to get people out of their car.

NT: What products do you sell?
FM: We sell a variety of products—mainly electric scooters and bikes—to help bridge the gap between home and public transportation.

NT: You sell both electric and gas scooters. Can you explain the differences between the two?
FM: Electric scooters are clean, don’t produce exhaust, are noiseless, more eco-friendly and are not filled with flammable substances. With gas scooters, the fuel is a mix of oil and gas, and they are not legal to take on public transportation and in some apartment complexes. The advantages of gas scooters are that they are more powerful, are faster, have greater torque and recharge faster. You don’t have to plug them in and wait for them to charge. For an electric scooter, this could take two to eight hours.

Interested in getting an electric scooter of your own? Check out Minero's online business: UrbanScooters.com.


To reach reporter Amanda Tran, click here.



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