Did you know that going from a vehicle that's rated at 34/30 mpg to one that gets 21/22 mpg is helping to "fight global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions?" That's what Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) deputy chief of staff, David Wade, would have people believe. Since when is going to a vehicle with 34 percent worse mileage than the one you just had good for the environment? Apparently, Sen. Kerry has decided to get rid of his 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid in favor of the Green Car of the Year, the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid. Not to take anything away from the Tahoe, because the 2-Mode hybrid system is a technological marvel and provides shockingly good fuel economy for a vehicle of this size and capability, but this isn't a green switch.
Unless Kerry is planning to cart around eight people in his Tahoe (which as a politician he may well be doing, but I doubt they 're all in his car) instead of using multiple vehicles, there is absolutely no way that this is a responsible move from a green standpoint. The Washington Post wrote that, "In fact, his [Wade's] boss decided to trade in his two-year-old Ford Escape Hybrid for a shiny new Chevy Tahoe Hybrid -- which won the 2008 Green Car of the Year award, he'll have you know. (Wade says it's a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency.)" This obviously false/erroneous statement could not go unchallenged, so ABG tried to contact the Senator's Washington, D.C. office.
So far, attempts to reach Mr. Wade have been unsuccessful. Several calls to Kerry's office over the last two days have resulted in messages left with other staffers for Mr. Wade to call ABG. We still have not heard back. Wade no doubt has bigger concerns than this little corner of the 'net. If a vanity search turns up this post and Wade would care to respond, we'll be glad to publish his side of this tale.
It was certainly possible that Mr. Wade simply did not know the facts about the mileage ratings of the two vehicles. It's also possible that the Post misquoted Mr. Wade. However a "respected" journalistic institution like the Washington Post should have caught such a blatant error. At any rate, the Tahoe hybrid doesn't get better mileage than the Escape hybrid and the improvement over the standard Tahoe isn't 40 percent either. The Tahoe hybrid does do 50 percent better in urban driving and 30 percent better overall than the non-hybrid version, though. If you're going to pick a number, at least pick a real one.
[Source: Washington Post, John Kerry's office]