More California lawmakers driving hybrids, not state-issued SUVs

Even though many members of the California legislature touted green measures, some were driving state-issued gas-guzzling SUVs. Now more lawmakers are sliding into hybrids, according to a survey by the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the latest tally, 39 members of the Assembly have hybrids, up from 27 last year. In the Senate, 13 drive hybrids, up from 3 in the last session.

Said Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez: "I do believe in the notion that you have to practice what you preach."

Every positive step forward draws critics, however, and the Sierra Club is no exception in finding something wrong with the movement. The group doesn't believe all hybrids are created equal. One assemblyman who weighs 300 pounds says he can't fit into a small car and chose a Chevy Silverado with its BAS hybrid system.

"I'm concerned that the word hybrid is too often used a green seal of approval for a vehicle, and we need to look deeper than that," said Bill Magavern, a lobbyist for the Sierra Club.

In fact, the most popular hybrid is not the gas-sipping Prius but the Toyota Highlander SUV. Only 17 lawmakers drive the Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid, both of which qualify for HOV lane privileges.

[Source: Matthew Yi / San Francisco Chronicle]

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