New car undermines gov’s energy message
The SUV the state has leased for Gov. Linda Lingle gets just 12 mpg.
TAXPAYERS shouldn't begrudge Gov. Linda Lingle a new ride.
After all, the lease was about to expire on the gargantuan Ford Expedition she had been riding in for years and, really, it was so 2004.
They also shouldn't criticize her for trading one colossal SUV for another because with at least two hefty bodyguards as part of her retinue, space is a consideration.
Then there's the matter of safety. The governor can't be cruising in a tin can of a vehicle. Not with Hawaii's crazy, inept drivers racing on the airport viaduct or running red lights on Beretania.
Besides, whoever holds the office of governor is due a measure of dignity, even if she is a Republican in a Democrat-dominant state.
The problem isn't so much that the tab for the 2008 Infiniti QX56 is $938 a month. It's that Lingle has spoken so ardently about reducing the state's dependence on fossil fuels and about conservation. Her pledge to lead by example rings a little hollow when she steps from a 12 mpg, V8-engine gas guzzler.
Her aide explained that when bids came in for a new car, the hybrid lease was almost $500 more, but that discounts the fact that better mileage could have brought costs in line as gasoline prices climb higher. The call for bids also could have specified hybrids, which it apparently didn't.
The aide said Lingle had little say in the choice, but it's hard to imagine that had she said no to guzzlers, the procurement staff could not have accommodated her.
The aide also said that because the car won't get much use, there wouldn't be "any real payback" on a hybrid, but quantifying payback in dollars and not in setting an example turns luxury vehicle into lemon.
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