Schwarzenegger under fire; state vehicles never used alternative fuel

| Thursday, September 13, 2007

A San Jose Mercury News investigation published in August has Californians wondering if praise the governor has earned over his state “green” fleet is undeserved.

The Mercury News’ report showed that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration purchased 1,138 alternative fuel vehicles from GM and sought praise for “advancing the governor’s goal of reducing petroleum consumption.”

One problem – two years and 10 million miles later, the Mercury News reports, the vehicles still run on unleaded fuel.

The California Legislature plans to consider forcing the vehicles to use E85 – 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. One public gas station sells E85 in San Diego – it is the only such station in the state.

The investigation prompted California State Sen. Dean Florez to call for Gov. Schwarzenegger to release documents related to the $17 million order of state vehicles purchased over the past two years from General Motors.

The Mercury News reported that Florez, a Democrat from Bakersfield, has called for a public hearing on Sept. 24 to ask employees from the governor’s office to explain how they can legally withhold documents regarding a lucrative vehicle fleet contract with only one vendor – GM.

A press release from the Foundation for Consumer and Taxpayer Rights stated that Schwarzenegger received $47,000 in campaign contributions from GM in 2004 and that GM paid for a trip Schwarzenegger took to Japan.

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