Despite all its high-tech gadgetry, communications onboard, and defensive armored plating, the White House limo, known as “The Beast” failed to start this morning shortly before President Barack Obama landed in Tel Aviv.
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With such a heavy payload – a full eight tons – it’s no wonder its fuel efficiency is only eight miles a gallon. But that point was made moot when the driver apparently filled it with the wrong fuel.
Israel’s Channel Two reported, “The Americans filled it up with diesel, rather than petrol,” suggesting a diplomatic incident was averted because it was the Americans’ fault, not Israel’s.
But Haaretz Correspondent Chemi Shalev reported it was actually the other way around, that the White House driver filled ‘er up with gasoline instead of diesel.
The Israeli site 2424.co.il has more pictures:
TheBlaze’s Liz Klimas wrote in January about some of the impressive specifications of “The Beast” including:
…a gas tank that won’t explode even upon a direct hit; it has night vision gear; and is so controlled an environment it can keep out a biochemical attack. There are even bottles containing blood matching that of the president’s type in the trunk.
In this graphic from The Daily Mail, it appears the vehicle indeed runs on diesel.
Israeli and Jordanian officials coordinated the swift transfer of a replacement limousine that was already in place at a storage facility in Jordan for Obama’s visit there, according to the Times of Israel.
That replacement was loaded onto a transport plane and flown to Israel.
The New York Times’ Mark Landler who filed the White House travel pool report wrote:
One of the presidential limousines had mechanical trouble and had to be replaced before President Obama’s arrival in Tel Aviv, according to the Secret Service.
“We experienced mechanical trouble with one of the cars,” said Edwin Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service. “We don’t know the cause.”
There have been media reports that the vehicle had been filled with diesel fuel rather than gasoline.
Donovan said the Secret Service “did not have a read on what the specific issue is at this point.”
POTUS was driven in a different vehicle, he said. “That’s why we bring different multiple vehicles,” Mr. Donovan said.
Landler added that the White House will release a statement later.
One Twitter user quipped: The sequester caused Israel to stop selling diesel fuel. (New White House job posting: Limousine driver / $175K per year).
Jokes aside, how much will this morning’s major logistical production cost? Wasted: flying in the original limo from DC, flying the replacement limo in from Jordan, and shortly flying out the broken down vehicle. Whatever the price, you can be sure it’s all courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.