Top diplomats around Washington, D.C. constantly pop in and out of wasteful, gasguzzling limousines. But when it comes to conserving natural resources, Israeli diplomats are driven by their values. In fact, Ambassador Sallai Meridor will soon be riding to appointments in a Toyota Highlander hybrid, which gets 32 miles to the gallon in city traffic.
Israel is setting a trend with its switch to hybrid-electric vehicles at its Washington embassy, its mission at the United Nations, and nine consulates across the country. One official acknowledged that the fleet of 25 "green" vehicles came with a slightly higher price tag than conventional vehicles. But "we'll save money on gas," he noted, because "it will be cheaper to use hybrids than regular cars."
Meridor himself spearheaded the change to dramatize Israel's commitment to finding alternatives to fossil fuels, such as the gas used in conventional vehicles.
"Reducing oil dependence and protecting our environment are key factors in improving international security," Meridor said in a statement. "We are proud to be among the first countries to take this small but symbolic step."