New York's Bloomberg takes SUV to green car event

NEW YORK Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:32am BST

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg listens to introductions at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit luncheon in New York May 15, 2007. REUTERS/Richard Drew/Pool

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg listens to introductions at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit luncheon in New York May 15, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Richard Drew/Pool

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It's not easy going green. Just ask New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

He arrived at a green car initiative on Thursday at the American Museum of Natural History in a small motorcade of fuel-guzzling sport utility vehicles. After the event, the mayor told Reuters part of his trip was by subway.

"We drove here from 86th Street," Bloomberg said, indicating his motorcade made only a short trip to the museum on 79th Street.

Earlier, Bloomberg praised rental car firm Hertz Corp. for its announcement on Thursday that it would spend $68 million (34 million pounds) to buy 3,400 Toyota Prius hybrid cars. Hertz Chairman Mark Frissora said 100 of them will be added to the company's Manhattan fleet.

That follows Bloomberg's plan to replace the city's yellow taxi cabs with eco-friendly hybrid vehicles by 2012.

"Any friend of fossil is a friend of mine. ... We've got to do everything we can to get people out of their automobiles and into mass transit," said Bloomberg, who is often discussed as an independent U.S. presidential candidate for 2008 but who says he has no plans to run.

Bloomberg, who regularly uses the subway, later posed for pictures in front a blue Prius parked outside the museum.

Hertz said 268,000 of its cars, or more than 64 percent of its rental fleet, get 28 miles (48 km) per gallon or better fuel efficiency.

The Prius gets about 40 to 60 miles per gallon, which can translate into 2.4 tons (2,177 kg) of carbon dioxide emissions per year, or half what a regular mid-size car produces, Hertz said.

Waiting for Bloomberg was a motorcade that included two Chevrolet Suburbans and a Ford Expedition XLT. Chevrolet's Web site says a half-ton, two-wheel drive Suburban model gets 15 miles per gallon in city driving.

Hertz said that SUVs like the ones in Bloomberg's motorcade produce 9.8 tons of emissions per year, or more than four times that of the Prius.