Tough Times Force Even Schwarzenegger to Support Girlie Hybrids

November 20, 2008
Wow, even cigar-smoking, bodybuilding, one-time Conan the Barbarian Schwarzenegger the Governator has been forced to face the facts of fuel efficiency. The juiced-up juggernaut posed next to a girlie little Saturn VUE Hybrid at the L.A. Auto Show, perhaps a concession to his left-coast state that sells more Toyota Priuses and Civic Hybrids than probably any other state in the union.

Schwarzenegger, of course, was one of the first adopters of the hulking Hummer H1, a barely disguised HUMVEE military vehicle peddled to rich former movie stars by GM back when gas was cheap and environmentalism was strictly the domain of anti-American left-wing radicals like Bill Ayers. So popular was the bad-boy strut of the H1 that GM, dizzy with visions of gigando profit margins, quickly created the similarly styled Hummer H2 and plopped it onto a heavy-duty GM truck chassis.

With six liters, 6,400 pounds, and 32 gallons of fuel, the H2 provided just what mom and dad needed to take the kids to soccer and brave the journey from Ryan's to the local mall. Conveniently, the Bush EPA did not require the H2 to reveal its fuel consumption. Distraught owners have reported city figures in the single digits, and even Consumer Guide averaged only 10.7 mpg with mostly highway driving. How to feed these monsters? "Drill, baby, drill!"

At the Republican National Convention in 2004, Schwarzenegger criticized pessimism about the economy: "Don't be economic girlie men," he chided. So what's with the emasculating Saturn VUE Hybrid, Arnie? Have your fuel-swilling days been terminated?--Colin Mathews

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