Bob Riley has gotten himself into a miniature public relations flap as he continues to use a gas-guzzling SUV for official business while rising gas prices are putting a squeeze on many Alabamians.
Riley's practice of taking a Chevy Tahoe or Ford Expedition has caught public attention as some governors are trading in their SUVs for more economical fare. Governors Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Bill Richardson (D-NM) have both made the switch to the Ford Escape Hybrid. The hybrids are roughly twice as efficient as the SUVs. Both governors are seeking to lead by example in emphasizing conservation during these times of rising gas prices.
Riley's staff explains the necessity of the SUV as a security precaution. But if the president's brother can figure out how ensure his security in a hybrid, it shouldn't be that difficult for Bob Riley.
As campaign season has now begun in earnest, Riley needs to realize that as the incumbent every move he makes will be scrutinized. This situation gives him a chance to show proactive, practical leadership. We'll see what he does.
Oh and no word on whether Nancy Worley will trade in her Ford Expedition.