GAS-TAX MIKE'S GARAGE OF GUZZLERS
By ERIN CALABRESE and ANGELA MONTEFINISE
June 22, 2008 -- Mayor Bloomberg may think it's a good idea for the little people to suffer a gas-tax hike to cut down on driving and help the environment - but that doesn't stop the billionaire from keeping his own private fleet of gas guzzlers.
Bloomberg, who said Friday he believes raising gas taxes and higher fuel prices will reduce consumption and "encourage the right behavior" among drivers, has four different vehicles registered to him in New York state, according to DMV records.
One, a 2002 Lexus SUV, gets only 13 miles per gallon, according to fueleconomy.gov, a Web site run by the US Department of Energy.
Another car - a 2005 Dodge Magnum with an 18-gallon tank - gets 18 mpg.
A 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 20-gallon tank gets 16 mpg.
Bloomberg - who prides himself on taking public transportation whenever possible - is often chauffeured around on official business in a Chevy Suburban. The car, which runs on a combination of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol, gets 12 mpg.
Of course paying between $75 to $100, which it would take to fill those tanks, is nothing for Bloomberg, whose estimated net worth is $11.5 billion.
But news of his remarks that taxes should be raised so people would drive less fueled bad feelings among some city drivers.
"For someone with money, it's just a few extra dollars, so they'll keep driving their cars, which defeats the point," said Ilene Malkin, who spent $45 filling up her Honda Accord on the West Side yesterday.
"That tax will only hurt the little guy."
Bloomberg made his high-octane comments Friday in a discussion of off-shore drilling in Florida.
Mayoral spokesman Jason Post yesterday countered that Bloomberg was just encouraging conservation.
"The mayor rides the subway almost every day," said Post. "He believes a comprehensive energy policy includes steps such as conservation, alternative fuel sources, new technologies that reduce pollution, and raising the cost of using energy in order to reduce consumption," said Post.