Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, an environmental champion, is no longer driving his state-issued Honda Civic hybrid. He returned the “silver bullet” a few weeks ago to the state garage and traded it for a gas guzzling Crown Victoria.
He said earlier this week that he’s waiting for another Honda Civic hybrid with lower mileage, but refused to take back the one he brought in for repairs.
A few weeks ago, he was driving down I-395 when the dashboard lights started flashing at him. He said this was the second time the car had given him problems, the first was back in May when a battery needed to be replaced, a few days after the check engine light appeared the first time.
Blumenthal is the only constitutional officer to request a hybrid vehicle. The rest of the constitutional officers including Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, Treasurer Denise Nappier, and Comptroller Nancy Wyman drive Crown Victoria’s, which get about 18 to 25 miles per gallon. The 2007 Honda Civic hybrid Blumenthal was driving should have been getting an estimated 49 to 51 miles per gallon according to the owners manual.
Donna Micklus, communications director for the Department of Administrative Services, said its likely another hybrid will become available over the next few weeks as part of Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s effort to reduce the state fleet of cars by 20 percent.
The state currently owns 385 hybrid vehicles, which are a mix of the Honda Civics and Toyota Priuses.
“The Civic hybrids have been very dependable,” Micklus said Thursday. She said they’re no less problematic than any other vehicle in the same class.
According to maintenance records, Blumenthal brought the “silver bullet” into the state garage on July 27 because the check engine light was on. Records show the car was taken to the dealership and “no problem was found.” The same thing happened on May 4. On May 12 the battery needed to be replaced and back in January the car was rear ended causing about $5,156 in damage.
Of the state’s constitutional officers, Blumenthal has one of the longest commutes every day. His roundtrip commute is 164 miles from Stamford to Hartford. Fedele’s commute is probably just as long, but it’s unclear how often he’s in Hartford.
When Blumenthal returned the car on July 27 it had about 93,000 miles on it. That’s almost four trips around the world and 16 round trips from Connecticut to California. It also means that he spent about 35 weeks in the car since getting it late last year.