Tuesday, October 11, 2005

CNN: High gas prices forcing governers to park SUVs


PERSONAL NOTE: My governor Mitch Daniels is still driving his huge mobile trailer thingy that was "donated" to him. I think he also uses biodiesel--also donated (probably to support local corn/ethanol production).

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been using a white Ford Escape hybrid after Katrina, keeping his Ford Expedition parked when he travels around Tallahassee. The hybrid goes hand-in-hand with Bush's recent push for alternative fuels. Ford and Lincoln vehicles are made by Ford Motor Co.

"It's kind of hard to be arguing to conserve gasoline when you're driving around in a Ford Expedition that guzzles it down at a 6- to 8-mile per gallon clip," Bush said last month.

Two Midwest governors, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Tom Vilsack of Iowa, are shifting to SUVs that run on E85, a gas-ethanol blend. Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne started using an E85 Chevrolet Suburban after helping open a pump for the alternative fuel in Boise.

Pawlenty, who is awaiting a black Chevy Suburban, considered getting a hybrid. He chose an ethanol-powered SUV because he couldn't find a hybrid large enough to accommodate himself, three family members, security, equipment and staff members. Chevrolet is a brand of General Motors Corp.

"Our country has been asleep at the switch on these things," Pawlenty said. "The basic economics are that the supply of fossil fuels is limited and the demand is outstripping the supply. It's a recipe for continued crisis if we don't start changing our ways."

Maine Gov. John Baldacci, meanwhile, has left the SUV world altogether. He now uses an unmarked sedan such as a Chevrolet Impala instead of a Suburban.

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