23 June 2008

What is your local leader driving? (From Bali With Love)

I found this article to be an interesting way of thinking in today's world...The article is from THE POST and COURIER of Charleston, South Carolina.

What is your local leader driving?
By Warren Wise
The Post and Courier
Saturday, June 21, 2008

In this age of nearly $4-a-gallon gasoline, elected officials say they are moving toward more fuel-efficient cars, but taxpayers still are paying a lot more to operate some big municipal vehicles.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley gets the gold star for driving the most fuel-efficient, city-owned vehicle. He drives a 2007 Toyota Prius, the hybrid that gets, on average, 46 miles per gallon.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey just bought an electric vehicle, a Tomberlin E-Merge that looks like a souped-up golf cart, but he can't drive it from his home near Park Circle to City Hall because it only goes 25 mph and can't be driven on roads with speed limits over 35 mph.

His city-owned 2008 Saturn Outlook gets a paltry 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the highway, but Summey said the city got the Saturn for free for two years, so it's saving the city money.

"What made this one more economical is that it was furnished by Saturn for two years at no cost," he said. "They thought it would look good for an executive to be driving it. It saves the city money."
Mount Pleasant Mayor Harry Hallman has a city-issued 2006 Ford Crown Victoria, but he is not driving it anymore after recently disclosing that he has symptoms associated with the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, Town Administrator Mac Burdette said.

Mount Pleasant is analyzing its fleet to move to more fuel-efficient vehicles as soon as possible, Burdette said.

"If other cities and towns aren't doing this, they are crazy," he said.
Summerville Mayor Berlin Myers and part-time Goose Creek Mayor Mike Heitzler are not issued government cars to drive. They drive their personal vehicles.

Charleston County Administrator Mack Canterbury drives a county- issued 2001 Dodge Durango that gets about 12 miles per gallon in the city and about 16 miles per gallon on the highway.

"Upon his employment, Canterbury asked if there were any cars within the county's existing fleet that were under-utilized. Staff did some research, and the car was chosen from within the Public Works Department's fleet. Fuel costs are offset by the fact that the county did not have to purchase a new vehicle," said Jennie Davis, public information officer for Charleston County.

The county has invested in some hybrid cars and is looking at more fuel-efficient cars for its fleet, Davis said.

In Berkeley County, Supervisor Dan Davis just dumped his county-issued Crown Victoria for a 2008 Chevrolet Impala that averages about 17 miles per gallon in the city and about 27 on the highway.

The county also is trying to move toward greater fuel efficiency, Davis said.
"We are trying to put some hybrids in our motor pool. We are removing all the high-mileage vehicles as quickly as we can," he said.

Dorchester County Administrator Jason Ward will soon have a more fuel-efficient car.
He is getting rid of his county-issued 2001 Crown Victoria, which gets about 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the highway, and replacing it with a 2008 Ford Escape hybrid, which will more than double his gas mileage in the city and increase highway mileage to nearly 30 miles per gallon.

"This is something we have been dealing with since gas starting going up two or three years ago," Ward said.

None of the members of the Washington delegation that represent the area have government-issued vehicles, except for Congressman Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia, who is driven around by a security detail in a 2007 Chevy Suburban because of his high rank in Congress as House majority whip. The gas guzzler averages about 13 miles per gallon in the city and about 19 miles per gallon on the highway.
The two U.S. senators, Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, both S.C. Republicans, as well as U.S. Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C., use public transportation or ride with staff members in their personal cars to get around Washington.

Brown said technology has not yet caught up with the market.

"The price of gasoline is bringing on a lot of creativity, but it takes a lot of production to make the cost justifiable," he said.

Reach Warren Wise at 745-5850 or wwise@postandcourier.com.

Copyright © 1997 - 2007 the Evening Post Publishing Co.

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