E-bike makers emphasize low operating cost—one claim is "less than one cent per mile." An internal-combustion scooter getting 80 miles per gallon has a fuel cost 2.6 times more than this (at current gasoline prices). Can electrics save money? In the auto industry, new fuel-saving technologies such as diesel, hybrid and gasoline-direct injection are currently being compared in break-even cost—the time or driving distance required for the fuel savings to pay the extra cost of the technology. In this case, it's not hard to figure, as the electric saves 1.6 cents per mile compared to the 80-mpg combustion scooter. If the electric costs the same to buy as the combustion scooter, you pocket the 1.6 cents a mile. Riding 15,000 miles a year, that's $240 saved. But if the "electric surcharge" is $1000, break-even comes only after 60,000 miles (or four years, at 15,000 miles a year).