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Hummer booster Schwarzenegger not sad to see them terminated here

June 3, 2009 |  8:54 pm

California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with his favorite Hummer

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the cigar-chomping, suddenly green Republican who helped popularize GM's massive Hummer almost two decades ago, wasn’t shedding any tears today about the gas-guzzling brand being sold to a Chinese firm.

(Maybe that's because he's already got his.)

Rather, the budget-troubled California chief executive said the car had become a symptom of Detroit’s failure to keep up with the times. And he seemed pleased that Hummer's new owner was Chinese.

“I’ve always been a big fan of the Hummer, but … we know we’ve got to get rid of the big, polluting vehicles and cars that drive with very low mileage,” he said. “You know, the Hummer gets maybe 14 miles per gallon, and that is not enough.”

Schwarzenegger, who has taken to helping market cars that run on cleaner and more fuel-efficient technology, had just finished inspecting a Volkswagen Passat with a hydrogen-powered engine. Last week in the same spot, he looked at an electric Hummer made not by GM but by another company, Raser Technologies.

The governor himself owns a Hummer retrofitted to run on vegetable oil. Ah, that image! The Terminator driving a vegan vehicle.

Schwarzenegger said he would “guarantee” that innovative Chinese automakers would double the Hummer’s gas mileage, or perhaps even make one that runs 100 miles on a U.S. gallon.

 “I feel saddened about the fact that America has so far fallen behind and that Detroit, the big automakers, that make spectacular cars …. somehow have not kept up in the technology,” Schwarzenegger said.

“And I think it is largely because they have been protected by the federal government for too long, rather than the federal government saying, ‘Here are the new standards -- 10 years from now, those are the cars that you have to produce.’ ”

Of course, he's still got his Harleys too.

-- Michael Rothfeld

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