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The Chevy Suburban (And The Politicians Who Love It)

Posted in Chevrolet, Gas Guzzlers, Gas Prices, GM, Newsworthy, SUV by Geoff | August 31st, 2008 | 4 Responses |

V.P. nominee Palin's ride of choice
V.P. nominee Palin’s ride of choice

It appears that all of the Presidential and Vice Presendential candidates have sketchy pasts.  No, not of the Monica Lewinsky type.  I’m talking about their cars.  Following a report last year that Barack Obama owned a Chrysler 300 that got 18 mpg, he was soon seen driving a Ford Escape Hybrid instead.  Was this just an attempt to dodge questions about his attitude towards the environment and/or the countries fuel crisis?  Probably, but at least he is now in a more fuel efficient car.  More recently, his wife Michelle was seen in a Hybrid Tahoe.  For the sake of being “fair and balanced,” according to the Los Angelas Times the newly selected Republian Vice Presidential Candidate Governor Sarah Palin’s choice of vehicle to commute to work in is a Chevy Suburban.

1967 Corvette
1967 Corvette

According to Xconomy.com, a Chevy Suburban, which gets a whopping 16 mpg, produces 15 kilowatts of exhaust heat energy during city driving, enough to power three or four air conditioners.  In Palin’s defense she is from Alaska which may or may not warrant such a vehicle and the aerodynamics-of-a-breadbox Suburban is owned by the State.  Not sure if she’s allowed to use the vehicle for personal use, but she does have 5 kids, the eldest serving in the Army.  Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain drives a Cadillac CTS that gets 19 mpg.  But definitely the coolest of the four, in terms of their mode of transportation anyway, is Democratic V.P. nominee Senator Joe Biden of Delaware.  Biden takes home the top honors for commuting to Washington via train, therefore not contributing to the god-awful traffic in D.C., but more importantly also owns a 1967 Corvette.  (If it’s a Coupe he earns extra points in my book)

Lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle, are notoriously bad when it comes to driving efficient vehicles.  According to Congressional Records reported By Sean Mussenden of Media General News Service, taxpayers spend about $1 million per year to lease vehicles for 127 members of the House of Representatives, more than a quarter of the 435-member body.  Half of all vehicles leased by members of Congress with taxpayer funds are gas-guzzling SUVs and twice as many lawmakers drive luxurious Lincoln Town Cars than hybrid Toyota Priuses.

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4 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    Geoff while I see a trend in your writing of bashing drivers of anything gas guzzling, I find it interresting to see that owning a 67 ‘Vette is a plus in your eyes.
    Anyway– I totally agree with you here though that a politician does not typically need seating for 8, so a full size SUV is a total waste of resources and dumps too much crap into our enviroment. If we’re going to be paying their ride it should be something that meets or exceeds some requirements. Fuel economy, emissions, obviously cost should be 3 or the factors considered.
    On the flip side, I’m not sure if I want the president being shuttled around in a Prius. There might need to be an executive exemption there.

  2. Geoff says:

    Joe you pose an important point, in terms of fuel efficiency the Vette is probably not much if at all better than the Suburban. My obvious initial answer is that the Vette is simply a cooler car than the Suburban in my opinion. But in terms of “eco-friendliness” since Biden commutes (or did at least) via train, the Vette is not being driven as much as the Suburban. That being said, living in Alaska and the D.C.-area are apples and oranges (not to mention having a large family) so I am not coming down too hard on Gov. Palin specifically. I do, however, think that this highlights the fact that Washington Politicians, both Dems and Reps, are pretty hypocritical to drive around in SUVs and Towncars while saying that they “feel the pain” of those that suffer through gas prices. You are absolutely right about high level officials not being “shuttled” around in a hybrid, that would be foolish. But realistically, there are HUNDREDS of Senators and Representatives in Washington, that no one could pick out of a lineup, that already drive themselves to work and back without Secret Service protection and could drive more efficient vehicles if they chose to. Or how about a bit of car pooling or using a driving service between several Senators or Representatives. I would be very curious to know what the difference in cost and consumption would be between, lets say 4 limos shuttling 12 Congressmen/women and 12 individual drivers. A big part of the problem is that these politicians travel on the taxpayer’s dime unlike you and me. Another aspect of large SUVs is the fact that they discourage others from driving smaller, typically more fuel efficient vehicles. There have been many studies that point to the fact that other drivers are intimidated and feel unsafe driving a small vehicle amongst the gigantaur SUVs. Often many cars, reviewed even on this site, are given negative scores for highway driving, almost entirely because of their diminutive presence creates an unsafe feeling while driving with large vehicles. This, however, will probably not change significantly given our countries heavy emphasis of trucking.

  3. brian says:

    That is a total. Freaking. Joke. If you are into classic cars, who freaking cares about gas mileage? They drive them on weekends, so do I.

  4. freebird says:

    drive it like you stole it ………..