“The word Hummer really throws people off, makes you think you’re driving a big automobile. I’m not driving one of those. They’re gas-guzzlers.”
Rudy Clay, Mayor of Gary Indiana, is defending his decision to purchase a new $30,000 2009 Hummer H3 at city expense—while the City of Gary faces a $30 million budget deficit.
Clay got into hot water last year for using the Hummer H3 for his professional and personal use, during a time when gas prices reached record highs. The Hummer H3 is rated at 14 miles to the gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the high. In 2008, Clay was using city funds to pay for gasoline but pledged to begin fueling the vehicle with his own money. On Wednesday, he reiterated his commitment to pay for his own gas.
Appearing last June on Fox News’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” Mayor Clay said that the gas mileage on his 2006 Hummer H3 was “really good.” Cavuto replied, “It’s not exactly hybrid material, and your tax payers are paying for it. They have every right to say, mayor, cool it.”
Mayor Clay responded, “The word Hummer really throws people off, makes you think you’re driving a big automobile. I’m not driving one of those. They’re gas-guzzlers.” Clay owned the 2006 Hummer H3 before becoming mayor.
Gary’s decision to purchase a new Hummer comes at a time when municipalities across the country are buying more and more hybrids for their fleets—both to save money when gas prices are high and to reduce the environmental footprint of city-owned vehicles.
Clay defended the purchase based on the discounted price he received for the 2009 Hummer H3, which is about $5,000 less than the sticker price of $34,135. Local citizens expressed disapproval of Mayor Clay’s decision. Herb Smith, a local businessman told the Post-Tribune, “I think we have enough vehicles owned by the city that he could have used one of those.”